Florida C Patric Young to return for senior season

By Adam Silverstein
April 8, 2013

A position of relative weakness for men’s basketball over the last two seasons has suddenly become one of immense strength as the Florida Gators officially announced on Monday that center Patric Young will return to school for his senior season.

“I have the chance to finish my degree and play another season for Coach [Billy] Donovan with great teammates and friends at a place I love,” said Young in a school release. “These first three years have gone by in a flash, and I can’t believe it is my senior year already. I have gotten better as a player and better as a man at the University of Florida. I believe God has my future in his hands, so all I am worried about now is getting better this summer and making it the hardest I have trained in my life.”

After spending his first year with the Gators as a reserve, Young has served as Florida’s starting center over the last two seasons, averaging 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game in each campaign. Donovan has chided Young for his consistency on occasion in order to get the absoulte most out of him on a game-to-game basis but the two have a great player-coach relationship.

“We’re excited that Patric will continue with us for his senior season,” said Donovan in the school release. “This was Patric’s decision to make, and he ultimately had to do what he felt was best for himself and his future.”

Young likely would have been a second-round pick in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft had he declared and left school early.

Though stretch-four Erik Murphy (6’10”, 238 lbs.) had started alongside him, Young (6’9”, 249 lbs.) has been the Gators’ true big man and the only player on the team who could legitimately play center for an entire game.

That will not be the case next season as, with Young returning, Florida will boast arguably the best frontcourt in the nation.

Joining Young, the two-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, will be junior transfer Damontre Harris (6’10”, 228 lbs.) and five-star freshman Chris Walker (6’9”, 220 lbs.). Forwards Will Yeguete (6’7” 240 lbs.) and Casey Prather (6’6”, 208 lbs.) will both return for their senior seasons, and Florida will finally get to see sophomore transfer Dorian Finney-Smith (6’8”, 205 lbs.) in action.

The Gators will be able to rotate at least six players in their three frontcourt positions but will need to develop the backcourt after losing starting guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario to graduation. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin will be the only other returning member of Florida’s starting five aside from Young.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/Associated Press

14 Comments

  1. Will W says:

    Hi Adam
    Someone was telling me Finney-Smith is our best player in practice.

    Guess at next season’s starting %? Wilbekin, Young, Frazier, Prather, Walker is my first guess.

    • Yes to Finney-Smith. No to your starting %. Haha. Starting 5.

      Hill, Wilbekin, Finney-Smith, Yeguete/Walker and Young.

      • tank says:

        I agree on the line-up. Still interested to see if Walker meshes into the team, especially on how he responds to competition for position. I also really hope that we see some major improvement from three current freshmen moving into next season (and hopefully no transfers). We will really need them to improve and provide next years team with some back-court depth. Right now it looks as though our main outside scoring threats will be Hill and Frazier, with Wilbekin providing some secondary scoring. Need at least one other guard to step up (IMHO).

      • Tractorr says:

        One of the great thing about next year is we will be able to do so many different things with the players we have. If we need to go 3 guards we can. If we need to go big we could go big. If someone is dragging we will have a backup for every position (or almost every position SG is still to be seen).

      • Ken (CA) says:

        I would have been far more surprised if he had announced he was leaving, he seems far to intelligent to know that would not have been a winning move.

        As to starting lineups, I suspect that the starting lineup at the end of the year will look very different from the lineup at the beginning of the year if the 2 studs coming in are anywhere close to being as advertised.

        • Tractorr says:

          All I know is that Hill is the best passer this team will have had since Calathes.

          • Ken (CA) says:

            well at least he was in HS, adjusting to the college speed and size is yet to be seen. Ogbueze was expected to come in and be huge impact, and virtually never saw the floor. It will be an interesting few weeks to see how this shakes out.

  2. Michael Jones says:

    You always got the impression that Patric Young stepped to the beat of a different drummer and this is a great decision that confirms he’s a special kid and a unique young man. He sounds like a class act too. Things will no doubt continue to go well for him with that attitude.

    Of course, as a Gator, I also couldn’t be happier for our basketball program to have him back. Next year, it will again, be GREAT. . TO BE. . . A FLORIDA GATOR!!!!

    Plus, on an NBA level, he’s much more of a power forward than a 5. . . this move might give him a chance to work on his 4 skills. Good deal all the way around!

  3. Gators22 says:

    Love it! It will be so nice to have more depth up front!

    We’ll see……Could be hard to keep Frazier off the court.

    • Michael Jones says:

      I agree. Frazier was huge as a true freshman this year. If he makes that big jump that most players make in their 2nd year, he should be a big part of our team next year.

  4. gatorboi352 says:

    Saw Finney-Smith hanging wit the rest of the usual crew out at the clubs Saturday night (so good sign there as far as chemistry goes). However, no one even acknowledged them outside of their 8 person group and they even waited in line to get in the place. Probably still too soon for the city of Gainesville after that loss LOL

    • one says:

      Well…our team has a good dose of humility then. They seem to accept the hierarchy of sports at UF.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I always get scared when someone starts talking about gator athletes and bars…

  5. MAR says:

    Great choice by PY. Stoked to have him back. BD has done a great job recruiting and building a team that will have a great line up next year. It’s great to have Billy D and it’s great to be a Florida Gator!

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