Young Bringing Energy to the Gators

Patric Young has found his role on the team. He brings the energy off the bench. He can score from the post if the team needs it, but that's not what he is being asked to do. The freshman center infuses energy by taking charges, blocking shots and rebounding. His explosiveness is needed in the frontcourt.

"The thing we need from him is his energy and physicality," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "We need the way he rebounds. He's getting better for us."

Young admits he wasn't playing to his capabilities for most of the out of conference schedule. It took until the team came back from Christmas break for Young to start focusing on how he could benefit the team best.

That comes through being the energy player.

The freshman plays with passion every time he's on the floor. He's emotional and often the one encouraging his teammates the most.

"I think I've got exactly what coach wants me to do right now," Young said. "Things are just flowing for me right now."

Young has been able to sit back and learn from two seniors in the frontcourt. Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin start at the power forward and center positions, and it's ability to stay out of foul trouble usually decides how much Young plays.

However, Tyus has been inconsistent this year and Macklin has dealt with multiples injuries. As Young continues to prove he can handle more time, Donovan wouldn't be surprised if the freshman earned more minutes.

"The thing for him is, what's going on with Vernon and Alex?" Donovan said. "When Vernon scored the first eight points of the game for us (against Arkansas), he got eleven points real quickly for us. He was giving us an offensive weapon that Patric isn't at that level yet."

Young does give the Gators instant defense, but it wasn't always that way. He came to campus used to defending with his physicality and strength. Now in conference play, Young is going up against skilled big men who know how to counteract that.

He has to step out and guard center, like Georgia's Trey Thompkins, who can shoot from the perimeter.

"In high school, there aren't guys who can match my size," Young said. "Coming to the college level was tough to stop a guy from backing me down and throwing a hook shot over me. It takes a mentality. It's 90% mental more than physical when you're playing someone in the post. You have to study and watch film to learn what their tendencies are."

In high school, Young outmuscled everyone on the court. His team's defensive scheme wasn't complicated. They sat Young in the paint and told him to block every shot that came from the same area. Usually, it worked.

When it didn't, Young often changed shots just from his presence, and he would outmuscle opponents for the rebound. That mindset was forced to change when Young got to campus.

"It was difficult to play him a lot of minutes because when you're big in high school, I'm going to do exactly what his high school coach did with him- stick him in the paint and just tell him to block shots and rebound," Donovan said. "Then you start playing (in college) against (centers) that can step out and shoot jumpers, and there is screening action inside the lane, you can't dare the guy to shoot over you. There are enough guys in this league who will score regardless of how strong you are."


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