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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Tiara Young: "I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff."
POSTED: April 12, 2021 -- 3:05 p.m. CT
A few days ago, Tiara Young, 5'8" sophomore guard, announced her decision to transfer from LSU to the University of Houston and Ronald Hughey's Houston Cougars women's basektball program.
In high school, Young was one of the top players in Shreveport, Louisiana. She was named Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss Louisiana Basketball in 2019 after her junior season when she averaged 27.2 points and 12 rebounds at Evangel Academy. Then, her senior season, Young scored 29.3 points per game and averaged 7 rebounds at Walker High School.
Young was a five-star high school recruit; however, she did not produce big numbers her two seasons at LSU. Her freshman season at LSU, Young played in 29 games; started nine games; and averaged 16.6 minutes per game. She averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
In the 2020-21 season, Young's playing time increased to 22 minutes per game. She averaged 8.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. In her best stretch of this season, Young scored in double figures seven straight games, averaged 15.4 points per game, including a career-high 20 points against 7th-ranked Texas A&M in a 65-61 LSU overtime win. Young scored 28 points total the final 7 games of the season.
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I spoke with Tiara Monday afternoon about her decision.
The HRR: You decided to transfer from LSU to UH. Why UH? Why the decision?
Tiara: I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff. They made me feel like they believed in me; and, they were very welcoming. And, then, I liked their playing style. They're up tempo and the way they get after it.
The HRR: When did you enter the transfer portal? How does that work?
Tiara: I entered (the transfer portal) March 27th. I made the decision based off it (LSU) wasn't a good fit; and, I felt like change was needed for my career.
I was in the portal for like a week. Soon as I was in there, Houston started calling my AAU coach, my mom; and, then, eventually, they started calling me. So, that's how it went.
The HRR: How do you get into the portal? Do you have to speak with someone? Who do you contact? How does it work?
Tiara: I had a conversation with my (former) head coach; and, then, I informed Compliance and let them know because you have to go through Compliance.
The HRR: Did you have a school in your mind -- a dream choice?
Tiara: Actually, I didn't. I was open-minded. I was just looking for a program where I could fit.
The HRR: Did you know anything about Houston before they reached out to you?
Tiara: Yeah. They recruited me when I was coming out of high school; so, the process was much easier the second go around.
The HRR: Are there any players on Houston's roster that you know or played with before?
Tiara: Yeah. I know Eryka (Eryka Sidney).
The HRR: How do you know her?
Tiara: When she was at Texas Tech; and, I went on my visit, she was my host.
The HRR: Small world.
The HRR: Did she tell you anything about Coach Hughey or the other coaches on the staff?
Tiara: Yeah. She was just telling me how they were. How he (Coach Hughey) is such a very family person. How he's very family oriented.
The HRR: Since we're still in COVID-19 times, you haven't been to Houston, correct?
The HRR: Describe your style of play.
Tiara: I like to play fast and up tempo; but, I can play slow. But, I prefer up tempo.
The HRR: The one game I saw LSU play (in 2020-21) was against Texas A&M; and, that was and overtime game and LSU beat A&M. And, that was your best game of the year, right?
The HRR: What was different for you in that game compared to the other games this season?
Tiara: It was a big game for us; so, I just came in with the mindset 'I know I can be in this game. I know I can play'; so, I came in with the mindset of I'm going to do whatever to help my team. My shot started falling for me early; and, that's what got me going.
The HRR: Did your role change after that game? I think you scored 20 in that game. Did anything change? Did you get less minutes after that? Injuries hamper you? What happened?
Tiara: Honestly, I don't know what happened after that game. I'm not sure.
But, going into the Arkansas game, I had hurt my ankle; and, I was out of practice for a couple of days. I was trying to get it right.
The HRR: Are you finishing up school at LSU right now?
Tiara: Yes. We have finals the end of this month. Yeah, I'm finishing up.
The HRR: Who's coming to Houston with you - if anybody?
Tiara: I think my parents and maybe my aunties. I'm not sure. But, I know my parents and, maybe, my brother.
The HRR: Have the Houston coaches talked to you about when you'll be on campus?
Tiara: They haven't sent me no dates, yet; but, I know it's going to be towards the end of May because summer school starts on the first of June.
The HRR: Do you have a major?
Tiara: Yes, I'm majoring in Sports Administration with a minor in Business.
The HRR: After your basketball career, what do you want to do?
Tiara: I either want to be a sports agent or get into real estate.
The HRR: How many years of eligibility will you have for Houston?
The HRR: Have you looked into any differences between the SEC and the AAC?
Tiara: No. I don't have any concerns about that. I'm not saying no conference is weaker or stronger. Whatever conference you go, there's going to be competition. That's just how I look at it.
The HRR: Has Coach Hughey talked to you about your role on the team and how he envisions your fit?
Tiara: Yeah. He told me he wants me to come in and be the scorer that I was and get after it on the defensive end.
The HRR: You put up a lot of points in high school. Did your game have to change when you got to LSU?
Tiara: I won't say it had to change. Honestly, I don't know. It just wasn't a good fit.
The HRR: Is there anything you'd like to say to UH fans / alums about your game?
Tiara: I can't wait to get started.
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