York adapting to Arizona

Gabe York admits that he learned a lot about himself when he first came to Arizona. Read on to see what that was, what York has been working on, and much more.

The transition from high school to college may be hard for some athletes. If they don't find the right guidance and accept the challenges that lay in front of them, the future could become very rocky.

So far this season, freshman Gabe York has identified the areas he is struggling with and found some help on the team for dealing with them.

It all started for York over the summer, when the team was allowed to hold ten practices before taking an exhibition trip to the Bahamas for a few days.

"The ten practices before the trip to the Bahamas was really the best thing about the trip in terms of improving myself," York said. "I struggled early on in practices having to go up against upperclassmen. Defense was really the hardest part of the transition.

"When we got to the Bahamas, it was a great experience. Our team got to bond together well. We got to know each other and learn about the different play styles that each other had. It was a really good overall learning experience for us."

After the trip, York began to realize what he was having issues with in the practices. Defensively, he wasn't on the same level as some of the other players.

"Defensively, the transition is tough," he said. "Everyone is so much stronger and the intensity is really high. Everyone is just as good as I am. In high school, sometimes I was able to coast on defense, but here, I have to go hard every play.

"I have to work hard on defense and know that each player is as good or better than I am."

York began talking with a few of the upperclassmen about his problems. He found that two of the seniors were leaders off the court as well as on the court.

"Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill have really worked well with me," he said. "Kevin has helped me with confidence and keeping my head up when shots aren't falling. He always makes sure I'm listening to the coaches because they always mean well, even if they're yelling at one of us.

"Solomon just tells me that even though I have friends on the team and we are all family, I am still fighting for playing time and my spot on the floor."

Another difference that the freshman has noticed at the college level is the weight lifting and conditioning program that he has gone through at Arizona.

"Conditioning is really different," York said. "The first time I did a college lift, I was sore for three or four days. It was definitely a lot harder. Now, I'm starting to get the hang of it. I'm learning and gaining weight.

"I've gained about ten pounds and I'm excited to see where it takes me at the end of the year."

Using that program, York has felt improvement in his game. He is a stronger player, able to drive the lane more efficiently, and it has even helped with his defense.

"I think I've gotten a lot more physical," he said. "I'm having an easier time getting into the lane and using my body to my advantage. I'm using that extra weight to push through the lane and get to the rim more often. I'm able to get around screens a little easier, too."

The freshman was the second of the class to commit to Arizona, following Grant Jerrett. One of the reasons for York becoming a Wildcat was Head Coach Sean Miller.

"Coach Miller has played basketball before and he knows his stuff," York said. "He has the most assists ever at Pitt and he really knows what he's talking about.

"When he talks to us, we have to listen because we know he's trying to make us better. We have to take that and put it into our game on the court."

This season, the shooting guard will get to play with and learn from Xavier transfer Mark Lyons. Having him as a leader and a mentor is something that York looks forward to as the season progresses.

"I think Mark Lyons is a great player," he said. "Seeing him play on T.V. is a lot different than playing against him here. He's definitely going to be a leader and he doesn't put anyone below him. He always works hard and it rubs off on the rest of the team."

Going into the season, Arizona will play an exhibition game against Humboldt State on Halloween night. Even though York won't look ahead, he has one game in particular circled on his calendar.

"I can't wait to play UCLA," York said. "It's College Gameday, they're one of our rivals, and we all know how hyped their recruiting class is and I just think it's going to be an amazing game this season."

As the season progresses, the team will also evolve and one of the hopes is that the Wildcats will turn into a Pac-12 title contender and a National Championship contender.

"Talking with the team, our biggest goal is to win a national title," York said. "We want it all, the Final Four, Pac-12 Championship, everything.

"As for myself, I just want to get into games as much as I can and help the team. I want to hit my shots and be successful when I'm on the court."

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