York recognizes need to improve

Gabe York had a rude awakening when he did not play much his freshman year. Read on to see what last season helped him realize, the work that he has put in, and much more.

Sophomore guard Gabe York does not mince any words when describing his freshman season. You won't hear him call it fun from an individual standpoint and he also won't lie when discussing his play and the impact he had.

However, he is hoping that this season is different.

"The plan is to have a lot of fun," York said. "Last year the situation I was in wasn't very fun having to sit down and watch my teammates play. We were winning games and that's what kept me going.

"I have always been a team player and that's how I was brought up, but it is definitely going to be nice to be out there on the court and get the feel back for the game and play at a high level."

York knows that those minutes will not be handed to him and it was a rude awakening when he did not get many minutes last season due to his lack of defensive ability.

"In high school I was probably one of the only offensive threats," York said. "I actually talked to my high school coach a couple weeks ago and it was a communication where I didn't play defense in high school and it was hard to try to translate from going to a high school where I had to score the ball and I had to stay on the court mainly for offense, to coming here where people are just as good as I am and having to play defense.

"I think definitely this year it clicked in my mind that offense is going to always be there for me. I have to play defense for a chance to get on the court."

The guard admits that his lack of playing time last season affected his confidence, which obviously did not help his attempt to turn things around.

"You always have to take into consideration that as a scorer or a shooter, you have to be able to hit shots," York said. "That's what I was recruited to here for, to be a scorer and make shots and last year just sort of a confidence thing, not playing a lot and thinking I was going to get a little more time than I did."

"That's all it really was, just the fact that I needed more confidence. I think this year with some of the guards leaving, I have a bigger role on this team. My confidence has come back and I have been shooting the ball really well."

But again, offense is not what is going to help York get on the court. Instead, it will be due to his ability to consistently defend.

"I gained about 12 or 13 pounds in the off-season, improved my lateral quickness and I made it a point to myself that the only way I was going to play is if I played defense," he said. "Coach told me that throughout that last year and I heard what he said, but I still just tried to outwork people offensively.

"I still have a long way to go. I am not the best defender in the country. Hopefully that is the plan and I will be able to get there, but as of now I am taking it one step at a time and getting better every day."

Nothing is guaranteed for York, but he is confident that strong performances in practices and in games will lead to the extended playing time that he wants.

"That's the plan, that's what I am hoping for," York said. "You don't know until games come and how you perform in practice. Obviously the way you perform in practice and all the practice points is going to show how much time you get in games. If I can play defense and play at a high level, I will get the minutes that I want."

Should those additional minutes come, York has no issue with taking on a leadership role, as he feels it is something he is accustomed to.

"I have always been an outgoing and outspoken person," York said. "I have never had a problem with wanting to be vocal. It was hard last year being in the situation I was in. I sort of just took a back seat and just tried to look at everything and view everything because it was coming so fast. This year it has definitely changed.

"Being hopefully one of the top three guards coming in and playing a lot of minutes, I have to be one of the ones that can speak out more than most. If practices are going in the wrong direction, be one of those guys who starts to get everybody excited and ready for practice."

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