Through the 2014 NBA Draft set for June 26 in New York, New York, Florida Gators center Patric Young will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.
The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest last season. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).
Young in 2013-14 claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time but was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.
He checks in for the third time from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, his new temporary home, after spending most of the last week in Chicago, Illinois, participating in the 2014 NBA Draft Combine.
I came down here to IMG Academy to train for everything that is coming up over the two months leading up to the draft including the combine and my individual workouts. It also gives me the ability to take care of my nutrition and stay focused on what I need to do to get ready for the next level.
A normal day at IMG includes getting treatment, a trip to the training room, exercises on the turf field to loosen up your body, basketball in the early afternoon, some free time, a class on nutrition or vision or mental preparedness, some more free time and a second basketball session in the afternoon. Then you get the rest of the day to yourself.
I didn’t know Alex Kirk at all before I got here. He’s from New Mexico and my roommate; he’s my closest friend here for sure. There’s a bunch of other guys up here like Justin Jackson from Cincinnati, Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner from Marquette, Jarnell Stokes from Tennessee…he and I have gotten closer and we’re pretty good friends now. Talib Zanna from Pittsburgh is also here, Eric Moreland from Oregon State.
We have some professional guys here as well like Vander Blue and Darius Johnston-Odom, Iman Shumpert. There’s a bunch of athletes here in general because IMG is a facility for a magnitude of sports. We’ve all just been trying to chase our dreams.
I left for the NBA Draft Combine early on Wednesday with a flight at 7 a.m. When I first arrived, we had a bunch of responsibilities right off the bat including media interviews, pictures and videos for the NBA Draft shows and some medical testing. That night, I had my first team interview with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The head coach [Monty Williams] wasn’t there, but I did get a chance to speak with general manager Dell Demps. He was a pretty cool guy. The interview seemed to go well, and they seemed impressed by me, said they would love to get me down to New Orleans for a workout. It was a pretty typical interview overall. You can tell if a team has done homework on you because they asked about my dad playing football in the past, my history in general. I don’t think any of them knew that I played baseball in high school and baseball was my first sport, so I think they were all surprised by that.
Thursday began with a nice breakfast and then we took to the gym for our first session. I was with all of the bigs, obviously, and basically everyone was nervous warming up while the guards were still on the court. No one was really speaking. Jordan Bachynski from Arizona State got us all up with his personality, how outgoing he is…everyone calmed down after that and was a bit more relaxed when we finally got on the court.
Everyone was competitive, enthusiastic, encouraging one another. At the end of the day, everyone wants to achieve their dream but we want each other to do it, too. No one wants to see anybody fall short and not make it.
I think I did really well on the shooting drills but of course there is room for improvement. The nerves got me a little bit because everybody out there in the stands was NBA-affiliated. I saw Scottie Pippen out there, coach Stan Van Gundy, who just accepted the Detroit Pistons job. He spoke to [the Gators] during the season, talked about getting to the next level and what it takes to succeed.
After the workout, I had a visit with the Memphis Grizzlies, which I think went well. I think they’re pretty interested. They don’t have much help behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the post, and I think they’re interested in getting me in for a workout. They seemed to like my attitude.
They asked me a riddle, “A baseball bat and a baseball cost $1.10 together. The bat is $1 more than the ball. How much is the ball?” That’s the question, do you know the answer? I wasn’t thinking about math at the time, so I talked my way around it, avoiding the question a little bit. I got them laughing.