Young Shows Offensive Improvement

Patric Young has shown flashes of his talent in his short career at Florida. On Wednesday night, he put it together for the best game of his career. Arizona chose to take away the three-point shots, and the sophomore center made them pay for 25 points and ten rebounds while also blocking two shots in Florida's 78-72 win over the Wildcats.

"Coach Donovan was just saying that the game plan of ‘let Patric get the ball in the post because he can't score' will be checked off the list in the scouting report," Patric Young said with a laugh. "Maybe then I'll get double teamed, and who knows who will have a great game next."

Before Wednesday, that was the plan most opponents tried this year. No one did it as disciplined as Arizona did. The Wildcats switched on all of Florida's screens on the perimeter, doing their best to take away Florida's lights out three-point shooting from early in the season.

It worked.

Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker combined to go 2-for-15 from behind the arc because the quickness and athleticism of the Arizona guards allowed them to stay with the duo. After the game, Florida head coach Billy Donovan was upset that Boynton and Walker continued to take their outside shots while Arizona had no answer to stop Young.

"We should've just played out of Patric Young all night," Donovan said. "He had 25 points and should've had 45 points. We should've got the ball to him much more than we did. There has to be a better understanding."

Young was surprised with the looks he saw from the Arizona defense. Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey told him all week to expect double teams in the post, but they never came. Arizona stuck with guarding Young one-on-one all night, letting him have his point in the post but refusing to allow the Florida three-point shooters to get going from long range.

Young could tell early in the game that it would be one where he needed to score. He came into the game with a career high of 14 points and broke it by eleven.

"My whole tenure being here, I haven't done too much in the post to make teams really try to keep me out of my game," Donovan said. "Tonight, I established that."

Young struggled early in the season with his touch around the rim. He was able to get open looks by using a variety of moves in the paint, but he didn't have his touch going to consistently hit shots. The difference Wednesday was finding the "right angle and having that soft touch."

Wednesday showed what Young could do. He worked hard in the offseason to improve the offensive part of his game, knowing that he would be sliding into the starting lineup to replace Vernon Macklin.

"He has made a lot of growth," Donovan said. "The one thing that happens a lot with guys that are trying to evolve offensively is when you focus on it all the time, you lose sight of the areas he's great at."

The challenge now for Young comes in knowing his role on the team. In instances when opponents do their best to take away the three-point shooting of Florida like Wednesday, Young will be needed to score. After the showing he made Wednesday night, there's no longer a question of whether or not he is capable of making it happen.

However, the coaches will now focus on not letting Young lose focus.

"He can't lose sight of who he is," Donovan said. "He's a good offensive player who continues to get better, but his motor and his energy to run the floor how he does, those things are special. He can do those things every game. He just can't get completely wrapped up in his offense."

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