Patric Young returning to Florida for junior year

By Adam Silverstein
March 15, 2012

Sophomore center Patric Young confirmed Thursday in Omaha, NE that he intends to return to the Florida Gators for his junior season, according to multiple reports on the scene for the team’s second-round match-up in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway confirmed Young’s declaration in a tweet. The player had previously told The Independent Florida Alligator’s Matt Watts on March 9 that he would be staying for his junior season before reversing course and saying he would make a final decision after the season was over.

Young, a full-time starter for Florida in his second season with the team, is averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game. He is shooting 60.8 percent from the field (all on dunks, layups and short hooks) and 60.5 percent from the line but has been relatively inconsistent for the Gators this year.

Though he has been a strong low-post defender when he keys in on that end of the court, Young is averaging fewer rebounds than many would expect. Scouts believe he should be pulling down double-digits in that category each game.

He also remains a work-in-progress offensively, getting discouraged and failing to continue posting up if he does not receive a fair amount of touches. Head coach Billy Donovan has discussed his player’s maturity and effort level, hoping he can improve as he realizes what it takes to be successful at a higher level of competition.

“There’s a level of requirement that you have to have as a player that, when you step into practice, you’ve got to work on a regular basis to get better,” he said referring to Young. “It’s that up-and-down-ness of, ‘I’m tired, I’m sore, my knee hurts, my foot hurts.’ You can’t one minute say that and then the next minute jump up and tomahawk dunk. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s part of any player growing, and I think Patric is still scratching the surface of understanding who he can be and what he can be on a consistent basis.”

Donovan also hinted that he thought another year at UF would serve Young well.

“As much as I want to expedite that process – I want it to happen right now – he’s got to go through it. What happens is, when you go through the pain and struggle of competition, you start to find out a lot more about yourself internally,” he said. “Patric is finding those things out because I think there was a struggle there for a while for him, even in practice every day – giving the effort and the commitment that he needs to give.

“It also comes down to, more than that, what does Patric want out of the game of basketball? Every player can want something. There are some players that like what the game brings to them – notoriety, attention, for certain guys playing in the NBA, money. Then there’s certain guys that really want to be great in the game and what drives them is to be the best they can be.

“This process, while these guys are in college, is all about them figuring out what do I really want from the game? Who do I want to be in the game of basketball? It can’t be about external, peripheral stuff. It has to be: what do I really want? Once you find out what you really want form the game, then you’re able to go in with incredible perseverance, great internal will because you have a clear-cut understanding of what it takes.

“Patric is finding out right now what it takes to be a great player. Now the next step is, is he able to make that commitment every single day to play like he did [in the regular season finale against Kentucky] all the time? Not scoring – his activity. A post presence, good post moves, running the floor, offensive rebounding, being physical, defending. He’s capable of doing those things every single night.”

Donovan expanded on those thoughts at a NCAA press conference on Thursday when he was alerted to what Young’s comments about returning to the team.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of that. That’s always great news. I think Patric has learned a lot this year. I don’t think this year was as easy for him as maybe he thought it was going to be,” he said. “A lot of times when you’re a player that’s in a role and then all of a sudden you go from a role to a primary position, your impression or your thought process of what you think it is going to be like may not match up to it. And then when your shoes are actually in that role, it’s a little bit different, just consistency and the day-in and day-out [effort].

“I think Patric probably realized there is some growth there consistency[-wise] that he needs to make. Patric has got the attitude of, ‘That’s why I’m in college. I’m in college to grow and mature and that’s what this process is for.’ He is much better today than he was a year ago. Next year he’ll be much better than he was this past season. For frontcourt guys it is always a process that these guys have got to go through. He has been a great kid to coach. I just think there have been ups and downs for him when you consider the constant everyday grind.”

Young, who was named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year after achieving a 3.37 GPA in telecommunications while also being successful on the court, admitted that he was not used to his coach being hard on him and is still adjusting to being taught in that manner.

“My whole life, I guess I didn’t take coaching very well and now, finally, it’s started to affect me,” he said. “My coach my senior of high school, we butted heads every now and then, too. I wasn’t used to a guy getting on me like that. And Coach D is 10 times worse. He cusses at you and hurts your feelings.”

Young’s decision to turn is a huge boost for a Florida team lacking depth in the frontcourt. The Gators will also get sophomore forward Will Yeguete (foot) back in 2013 and are hoping to add one more big man as part of their 2012 recruiting class.

Florida guards freshman Bradley Beal (expected to be a high lottery pick) and junior Kenny Boynton (projected as a second-round choice or to go undrafted) have yet to make a decision in regards to whether or not they will pursue a NBA career in 2012. The deadline for underclassmen to declare is April 29.

6 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    This is huge for Billy D and the basketball program!

  2. ALkjfalkjsf says:

    Get Beal to stay, sign Anthony Bennett, and this is a top 5 team.

  3. Courtney says:

    Yes sir! Now like you said above….if we can get beal to stay …man we will have a squad!

  4. SC Gator says:

    Oh hell yes, best news I’ve heard in all week

  5. Joshua P says:

    “He cusses at you and hurts your feelings” ROFLMAO!!! Welcome to the life PY, just wait til you have a BOSS.

  6. enahlerra says:

    this is a top 5 team.

Top