It’s been a busy spring for Kevin Young, but the new BYU basketball coach is finally taking some time to share about the work he’s been doing in Provo so far.

Young recently joined CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein on his “College Hoops Today” podcast to discuss jumping from the NBA into the college world, how he feels about the direction of his new program and more.

“What do you think your reaction would have been six months ago if somebody told you that you’d be a head coach in college basketball?” Rothstein asked Young right off the bat.

“You know, I probably would have not believed them, but we’re excited that it came together,” Young responded. “BYU specifically has kind of been something in the back of my mind that could be a possibility at some point in my career. The timing of things this go-around were a bit surprising, but we’re really excited.”

Here are some of Young’s other notable quotes during his appearance on “College Hoops Today.”

On how BYU courted him for its head coaching vacancy

“Well, I initially had made some contact with those guys four or five years ago when Mark Pope originally got the job there. Ever since that time, it just was kind of stored in the memory bank a little bit as something that would be possibly of interest later down the line. But on this go-around, shortly after he left for Kentucky, we were wrapping up the regular season with the Suns and I was interviewing for NBA head coaching jobs, and (BYU) happened to call sort of in the midst of all those interviews.

“So it was a crazy time, to be honest with you, with the playoffs coming, interviews happening at the NBA level, and then this kind of coming out of nowhere. And so things kind of fast-tracked once (BYU’s offer) happened and we got to where we are now.”

On navigating the new landscape of college basketball with NIL, the transfer portal and other challenges

“I’ve heard other people talk about the state of college basketball right now. I mean, the thing for me is I don’t know the old state of college basketball. I don’t know the pre-portal days. I don’t know the pre-NIL days. So that honestly was not something that really concerned me all that much.”

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On balancing a head coach’s workload with family life at home

“I have three young children and I did think striking a bit more of a potential work-life balance with college was something that I thought could be a little bit more conducive to that.

“I consulted quite a few of my close friends who have gone from NBA to the college world. I did an extensive amount of research on that. But again, no matter what job you do, no matter what profession you’re in, no matter what league you’re coaching in, I think you just have to be intentional about the time you’re able to spend with your family versus the time you’re able to spend at work, and then hopefully we can strike the right balance here.”

On juggling NBA playoff responsibilities with the Phoenix Suns and early duties with BYU

“It was tricky. There’s only so many hours in the day. It was a real pull of my time, but I feel like we were able to get it done fairly well.

“The biggest priority was getting our players that were in the portal to come back to BYU. We were able to get Dallin Hall and Richie Saunders to rejoin us at BYU, that was item No. 1 ... then hiring staff was something that I fast-tracked with a couple guys right out of the gate. Brandon Dunson was my first hire, and he’s been an unbelievable addition right out of the gate. He’s really helped me with the transition.

“But I didn’t want to rush and bring the wrong people in. So I was trying to be methodical and make sure I was doing things, not from a sped up standpoint, but still trying to be thorough and meticulous and all the things that I value as it relates to putting the staff together. It certainly challenged me. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to advance in the playoff run, but I was still able to cherish one more playoff experience with the guys who I’d carved out a lot of good relationships with, and that part will for sure be missed.”

On how he feels about BYU’s current roster

“I like our experience, I like our shooting. I like the fact that we got a lot of guys that are back from that team (last year) that was picked 12th to 13th in the Big 12 and exceeded expectations. So we’ve got guys with a chip on their shoulder.

“We’ve tried to add pieces around those guys that we feel like give us a little bit more athleticism, a little bit more pop. So we’re in the process of doing that. We still got some spots we’re looking to fill and are just relentlessly attacking, trying to fill those spots.

“We feel good about the direction we’re headed, but just trying to get a couple different things to the finish line and ultimately get these guys on campus and get to work.”

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On his preferred offensive style

“I’ve been tasked with a lot of offensive construction when I was with the 76ers and with the Suns. I think the first thing is being able to model your style of play to the people on your team and try to put those guys in a position where they can ultimately do what they’re good at. ... So I think drawing on the experience of dealing with different types of players and how you can best put them in a position to succeed, you also learn there’s commonalities in that, right?

“And so what we’re trying to do at BYU is ultimately play a fast brand of basketball. We want to attack the rim. We want to shoot 3s. We want to get out in transition. We want to flow into our offense, into our five-out offense, putting pressure on the rim with our bigs rolling and having a lot of shooting around that and letting guys make plays in space and make quick decisions with the basketball.

“I think the spacing and the pace of play in terms of getting into actions quickly from what I’ve seen seems to be one of the bigger differences from college to the NBA. So trying to bring some of that over the best we can and then really excited about some of the defensive possibilities with some of the rules being a little bit different and being able to do different things on that side of the floor as well.”

On the rowdy Marriott Center atmosphere

“It’s unbelievable. I was fortunate to coach out in that area when I was coming up in the G League. I was there coaching the Jazz’s old G League team, and we played across town at Utah Valley University. So I was there during that Jimmer era, and I went over to a game one night over there, and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve seen at the college level.

“Certainly something that we’re making sure our recruits are well aware of is the environment they’re walking into and the home court advantage that we have. It’s a really unique thing. And honestly, I’m excited, almost more excited just for my kids to come experience that level of energy at a game as well. We’re fired up about that.”

On competing in the Big 12′s basketball gauntlet

“Every night is a dog fight ... that was one thing that really intrigued me about the BYU situation, obviously I’d been coaching at the highest level in the NBA, and now to be able to go to the highest level of college basketball was something that was really interesting to me.

“I think that’s also a really big piece on the recruiting front. I’m learning that the players feel the same way. They want to play at the highest level, just like I want to coach at the highest level. So the fact that it’s in that conference with that level of talent on the coaching and playing side, I’m excited about that.”

On his vision for BYU basketball

“We feel like we offer a really unique situation in Provo. Obviously me and a few of the coaches I’m bringing in have pro backgrounds, and the reason I’m saying that is because player development is going to be a massive part of what we do is we try to help not just guys get to the NBA, but guys stay at BYU because they know they’re going to get better while they’re there. ... I feel good about the staff we’re putting together that’s going to help us keep a lot of high level talent there coming into Provo each and every year.”

BYU’s new men’s head basketball coach Kevin Young makes a few remarks during an announcement event in the Marriott Center in Provo on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News