Arugably the team MVP, Thad shook off what many viewed as a two year slump to have the best overall season of his career. His energy, scoring and improved defense were the cornerstone of the best bench in the NBA and a huge part of the Sixers 41 wins this past season.
We got @Yungsmoove21 on the cell yesterday and he gave Philadunkia scribe Nabeel Ahmadieh a few minutes. Among the topics they discussed — his upcoming basketball camp in Philly, playing for Coach Collins, the Sixers 2010-11 season, their need for a quality big and of course the elements of his game Thad plans to work on this summer.
Full interview with Thad after the jump.
Philadunkia: Before we start talking about you and the Sixers, tell us about the basketball camp you’re launching in Philadelphia this summer?
Thad: Well, we’re having it at Competitive Edge Sports and it’s a week long camp. For the kids ages 7-17 and it’s called the ‘Thad Young Hoops Training Camp’. It’s through the week of June 27th to July 1st, we’re holding it at Competitive Edge Sports at King of Prussia and the camp fee is $225 for all the kids to come and get a week long session with me messing around, teaching the kids the fundamentals of basketball and developing their game. We’ll go over different things for basketball as far as conditioning, defense, shooting, rebounding, ball-handling, post moves and stuff like that just to give them a feel for the NBA life. And to teach the kids what type of work needs to be put in to reach the next level and stuff like that.
Philadunkia: If a parent wanted to sign up their kid, how would they go about doing so?
Thad: If they wanted to sign their kid up they could go to my website thadyoung.com or they could go to another website that’ll take them straight to the registration process, which is www.ty21hoops.com.
Philadunkia: That sounds great. Alright let’s talk some Sixers. Reflecting back on your season, it seems that you took a big step in your game especially from a maturity and confidence standpoint. Why do you think your game improved so much in your fourth season?
Thad: I think it was just for me listening and buying into what we’re trying to build. Honestly, I wanted to start and I wanted to do a whole bunch of other things, but I just did what the team needed me to do. Which is playing hard and being an energy guy off the bench and you know, coach Collins, he’s definitely a great coach. He’s helping develop each and every player on the team and he’s defining our roles each and every day. He’s letting guys know this is what we need you to do and if you focus on this, you’ll be a great player. That’s pretty much what I did, just listened to what he was saying and bought into the coaches’ mentality.
The year before, I didn’t feel like we had the coach [Eddie Jordan] who could sit there and get us to the next step, to the next level, and he was a good coach but just didn’t mesh well with the team. And I think coach Collins is perfect for the team.
Philadunkia: Do you like your role as a sub, in the sixth man form, or would you prefer to be a starter?
Thad: It doesn’t really matter. I would love to be a starter, but like I said it’s whatever the team needs me to do. I started previous years and I loved being a starter, but if the coach needs me to come off the bench or needs a sixth man, then I’ll go out there and do the job as the sixth man.
Philadunkia: What did you think of Doug Collins after the first season under his watch?
Thad: I was definitely impressed, I loved the way he coached. He’s def a guy that looks to exploit all your talents and your physical abilities. He looks to take advantage of mismatches each and every night, when I’m on the court at times, it’s a mismatch waiting to happen, between me or Dre [Iguodala], or EB [Brand]. It’s definitely great to have him as a coach because he looks to exploit every ability for you.
Philadunkia: You’re a restricted free agent after the impending lockout, are you hoping to return back to Philadelphia next season?
Thad: Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to finishing what we began to start. So we hopefully will work this out, get it behind us and hopefully I’ll be a Sixer again. That’s the team that drafted me, that’s the time I’d like to finish my career with. But you know if we don’t get anything worked out, I understand it’s a business and I have to focus on the business aspect of it.
Philadunkia: This off-season what will you personally be working on to improve your game?
Thad: Pretty much just becoming that deadly mid-range shooter like EB [Brand]. You know, EB’s mid-range game is crazy and that’s the part of my game I want to develop. This season, I actually laid off the jumper a bit, tried to get to the basket and it was great for me because there were a lot of isolation plays for me, where I was just taking a guy on, one-on-one.
Philadunkia: What do you think the Sixers need to address to improve as a team?
Thad: We pretty much need that dominant big. Another low-post guy to compliment EB. And pretty much go out there to block shots, rebound the basketball. We need that interior presence.
Philadunkia: Through your short career, is there a moment that sticks out as your personal favorite? Something that you’ll always remember even after your playing days are through.
Thad: I’ve probably had plenty of moments. Making the playoffs in my first two years and then this past year as well and having a great season. Being competitive as the sixth man [award] in the League. But I’d probably say my most memorable moment was when, in the playoffs (2007), I hit the game-winner over Dwight Howard.
Philadunkia: The Iguodala trade rumors have been persistent lately, what are your thoughts on the situation with AI9?
Thad: Like I said, you can’t really worry about trades and stuff like that, because it’s going to happen. You just have to play through it and try not to think about it.
Overall, I love playing with Dre. He’s a great player, he’s a great defender, he’s on the verge of being one of those elite player in the League and he is definitely a great guy. He’s like a big brother to me on the court and from day one, he’s kind of like put down his wings a little bit and been teaching me a few things. I’ve been taking some stuff from him.
Philadunkia: Next season, assuming you remain with the 76ers, what will your expectations be for this team?
Thad: To get past the first round. We got there this year, but you know, had to play the Heat in the first round. Get a better seed, and get past the first round.
Philadunkia: What about the rumor of the franchise being up for sale, what are your thoughts?
Thad: That has nothing to do with me, that’s between the front office and everybody behind the scenes. I’m just leaving it to them. If they feel the team needs to be sold then that’s their decision. Like overall, I love playing for the 76ers, I like my teammates, we’re all like brothers and a big family, I like all my coaches and the rest is between them. I don’t want to really get into it, that’s on their side.
Philadunkia: Who do you like to close out the NBA Finals and win — Miami or Dallas?
Thad: To me it really doesn’t matter. We’re not in it so it really doesn’t matter to me. I have much respect for both teams and whoever wins, wins. I’m not really going to say who should win or anything like that, but they’re two hard teams that are competing and congrats to whoever wins.