Nick Young and Andray Blatche Dial It Up, A Celebration Ritual | Wizards Blog Truth About

Nick Young and Andray Blatche Dial It Up, A Celebration Ritual

Updated: April 8, 2010

What on earth are these two sons of man doing?

It was early in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls last Friday. Nick Young hit a three from the corner and his Washington Wizards, in a game mostly led by the Bulls to that point, extended their small lead to 61-57. The Bulls took a timeout.

Young and his best friend on the team, Andray Blatche, in lieu of just going straight to the bench to slap fives with teammates, broke out into their “Dial It Up” celebration, a routine which they’ve also displayed during pre-game introductions (more pictures forthcoming).

But good for Nick. Up to that point of the game, he’d been 1-8 from the field and that three-point field goal represented his first attempt, and make, of the second half. He finished the game 2-13 with 10 points. The Wizards lost 95-87.

Nick isn’t having that great of a season, so why all the celebration? Well, it’s basketball … gotta have some fun when losing is so prevalent and inevitable, right?

Departed Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn would probably advise Nick otherwise. He’d probably tell the kid to stay a bit more medium.

Okay, so Zorn’s ‘Stay Medium’ movement didn’t exactly have staying power in the Nation’s Capital. But the philosophy makes sense, and has been around much longer than the former Skins coach.

You can’t get too high, or too low, emotionally, unless you’ve actually accomplished something.

Wizards fans already know the downside of Young’s emotions. Usually, when he misses his first shot, his head hangs, he gets down on himself, and mentally checks out of the game. He’s gotten better at not performing the ritual this season, but the stigma that’s surrounded him since he joined the Wizards still presents itself every once in a while.

On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum is Nick Young’s smiling. When working with him last summer, Flip Saunders implored Young to smile less and to add more of a mean streak to his game.

In November, I followed up with Saunders on Nick’s smiling. He said:

“What I said about smiling, it wasn’t about (actually) smiling. More than anything, it was about making sure you take the game seriously. Sometimes when you’re smiling all the time, whether it’s body language or whatever, it gives the projection that everything’s going to be okay … and there’s not that sense of urgency. Great players all have that sense of urgency when they play, they have that killer instinct.  I want guys to go out and have fun … but you can’t smile when you get scored on, let’s put it that way.”

Of course, with all that’s happened, concerns about Nick and his smiling became lost on the season long ago … even though the search for a mean streak in his game is still in full Amber Alert mode. Now the concern, at least for Nick, is performing well in these last games as a starter in an attempt to turn around his disappointing season.

But as far as taking the game seriously? I think he does. I mean, if he’s not “serious” by now, he could be beyond help. But with Young, it’s not a seriousness issue. It’s a capacity issue. Does Nick’s game and basketball intelligence have the capacity to keep him on the court? Lately it has.

Saunders recently praised the third year guard for his on-ball defense, just one of the things aside from trying to score that can keep Young from riding the bench. But the scoring has recently come too. Following up a 29-point performance against Golden State, which in all honestly didn’t mean a ton because the Warriors defense is more porous than Swiss cheese, Young scored 21 points on Wednesday in Orlando, marking the second time he’s had back-to-back 20+ point games this season and just the second time in his career that he’s led his team in scoring in back-to-back games.

There are only four games left in this tragic Wizards 2009-10 season, not nearly enough time for Young to completely reverse the poor impression he’s made on the year. However, if he continues his strong play, such as taking smart shots and working harder to drive to the basket, especially in upcoming games against playoff teams (Boston and Atlanta), it will be just enough of a window for Nick to build momentum upon into this summer … at least that’s what Wizards fans hope for after the team extended his contract last summer.

As far as “Dialing It Up”? … No harm, no foul. Keep it coming boys. Staying medium is moot when you’re so bad and only kinda hoping to improve. Might as well enjoy basketball that means nothing while you can.

{Chronicles of a Phone Check between two homies}

{Pre-Game vs. Chicago}

{Pre-Game vs. Golden State}

{Post Game}

[Photo Credits: Adam Douglas]

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.