The Return

By Jeremy McDonald

MCMINNVILLE, Ore.–  It’s been a slow, snail- like pace for Central’s Michael Young as he’s nearing the start of his senior year as a Panther.

Entering his sophomore season, the six-week shortened season back in 2021, Young suffered a torn ACL during a drill on the first day of practice that knocked the guard out of Central’s season and it also sidelined Young through his junior season as well.

But, as the Summer League season started the first weekend of June, a bright spot happened.  Young got the ok to return and he was out playing in a few Summer League games at The Capital Fieldhouse, formerly The Hoop.  The second weekend came this past weekend, he saw action in two of the Panthers four games and played in Sunday’s opener before resting the second game at McMinnville High School.

The quiet Young was there on the sidelines in support of his teammates, easing back into the game he loves with his friends even though it still feels weird for the incoming senior to be back playing.

“It feels really good to be completely honest with you.  It feels good and it was weird at first playing, but now it feels good to play with my friends again,” Young said.

Young playing at the Capital Fieldhouse, formerly The Hoop, on June 5 in Salem (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

The injury has helped Young become smarter and watch a lot more of the game while being more pass first with his approach.  For Young, he knows how big this upcoming season is for him and his class, something that he doesn’t want to let his teammates down for this upcoming season.  

Central went 10-12 this past season and reached the first round of the 5A playoffs for the first time in three years before falling to Wilsonville.

“It’s going to be big for us.  We’re all seniors this year, I hope that we just work hard and I just have to get right before the season and get used to this.  I have to step up,” Young said. “We don’t have a vocal leader right now, but we just need to get the team going.  We’ve all been playing with each other and this is the first time we’re all playing together again since eighth-grade and I think it’ll be pretty good.

“We’re looking pretty good right now, so it’ll be good for our team to get into it once we get our offense going and get our plays down, we’ll be pretty good.”

Central has two more games Tuesday back at The Capital Fieldhouse at 5:30 and 7:30pm.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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