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.
Next up on Thursday was an interview with the New York Knicks, and Phil Jackson [the team’s new president] was in there. He was pretty quiet for the first 20 minutes or so but then he would throw in some questions here and there. He probably asked me about five questions in all. He was mild-mannered, which calmed me down because I was thinking, “Wow, this is Phil Jackson.”
The Knicks overall asked me about my faith and if I like to do stuff in the community. They asked me to explain one thing I worry about in the future, and I said, “I’m worried about who I’m going to marry in the future.” They thought that was funny because it was the most serious, quick response they got to that question. Then they were like, “What do you want your wife to be like?” And I joked, “What does this have to do with basketball?”
I asked if they could see me as part of their organization. They said, “Yes, we need defense and rebounding.” I said, “I can provide that for you.” They seemed interested in my personality. I was very excited and tried to let them know I’m a pro, I’m ready to contribute to a team now. I’ll be a low- maintenance guy. I’ll come with a great attitude every day. I’ll believe in the system and the coaching staff, whoever they choose, because they have a Hall of Famer running the organization. Who else would you want to do it besides the guy that’s been all the way and won the championship 11 times? I tried to convey how fired up I was that they even wanted to interview me.
Friday was focused on agility drills and testing. Obviously a big thing that came out of that day was my bench press. My mindset was just to go in there and do whatever I could because I have not lifted weights at all – including all season. [Editor’s Note: Young did 25 reps of 185 pounds, two off the combine record of 27.] If I would have actually trained for it, spent a couple weeks trying to prepare for it, I think I easily could have gotten 30, but it really was not a concern of mine.
The thing was, going into it, everyone – every single person – was saying, “I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do in the bench press.” Guys saying, “I got to bet that you’re going to get 25, you’re going to get 30, you’re going to get this many.” I was like, “Why does everyone care? I don’t care about this.” I was just going to go in there and get whatever. Everyone else was more concerned about it than me.
I was really happy with my testing numbers from Friday. At my size, I had the fastest everything behind Aaron Gordon from Arizona; he’s 25 pounds lighter than me and he’s a pure forward. I’m like a forward-center, I guess.
I felt really good going into everything, the jumps, my agility drills, the reaction tests. I was very happy and satisfied with the testing overall.
Though most people think the combine ended Friday, the players had a ton of medical testing and exams to do on Saturday and Sunday. They tested our eyes, our hearts, pulled and tugged on our bodies, put us through X-rays and MRIs. It was very intense. The MRIs especially are pretty loud but at least I can get a little nap in. Luckily, I had no physical concerns going in and all the tests came back clean. Everyone knew about my ankle surgery [from last summer], so that was not much of an issue.
I wound up having a surprise interview with the Utah Jazz; they just pulled me into a room over the weekend. It was my last meeting at the combine and also went well. I think they are interested in having me come out and meet with the rest of the team.
Overall, I think every team was impressed to see that I was a lot more skilled than they may have thought. My agent was very excited, said he got a lot of phone calls from teams wanting me to come in and work out. We’re working on trying to get the schedule set for the next few weeks.
I am back at IMG now and actually had Monday completely off. Alex and I went to see a movie, The Neighbors, it was OK. It was kind of predictable, but it was still funny though.
I basically have one more week to fine-tune some things before hitting the road as they are still working on the visit schedule. Seven teams, including the Knicks, have already said they definitely want me to come in, but we have to figure out the dates and times so that the meetings work for everyone. My first will definitely be at some point next week.
Next time you hear from me, it will probably be while I’m on the road between visits or taking a short break at IMG. But I’ll be back to update you all on my Path to the Draft soon enough!