Energy From Young Brings Open Shots

Florida's three starting guards get the publicity, but they're not the ones that make the Gators go. Billy Donovan tabbed Patric Young as that guy in recent weeks because of the energy he brings to the court. While the sophomore is battling an ankle injury that his limited his minutes in recent weeks, Young is feeling healthy and ready to give the Gators a spark as they head to Oxford on Thursday.

"The thing that Patric brings to our team is that when he plays at an incredible emotional level, it opens up so many things for our team," Donovan said. "When he is running down the floor as hard as he can and posting up, it draws so much attention and opens up so many things on the perimeter."

Young is starting to realize it. Donovan has been pounding that into his mind since even last year, when he was strictly a reserve, that his energy and 6-9, 247-pound frame are a difficult combination for defenses to try to defend.

Combine that with deadly group of three-point shooting guards on the outside, and opponents are stuck in a tough situation. When Young brings his energy, the Gators are tough to stop.

"I need to realize that every time I bring (energy), it changes the dynamic of our team," Patric Young said. "It gets guys open for shots and lets them go to the basket. Even if I just post up, I open up shots for (teammates). If I'm not getting the ball, I'm still helping the team score."

The two plays where Young most changed the energy of the game against LSU came after the whistle blew. His first one came after Will Yeguete was fouled and missed a shot, Young sprung into the air with his right arm fully extended behind his held, caught the rebound and launched it through the hoop. It didn't count, but it changed the noise level of the crowd and gave the Gators energy.

Just minutes later, Young swatted an LSU shot after Florida was called for a foul. It didn't go in the box score either, but it woke up the crowd and helped the Gators cruise to the end of the game.

"We've got to get him where he's playing, even if it's three or four minutes, with an incredible burst of energy," Donovan said. "When he does that, it totally changes the complexion of our team. His energy level shifts our team. It's a great skill and talent that he has."

Young did all of that last weekend on a bad ankle. The injury kept him out of practice a few days before the LSU game, but he wasn't held out of any practices this week as the Gators travel to take on Ole Miss Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST.

The ankle felt normal when Young woke up Sunday after the LSU game and hasn't flared up since.

"It's just a nagging thing with a lot of pain whenever I try to move and walk," Young said. "Lateral movements really affect it. I still can't really jump too well off my right foot or off two feet. When it comes time for the game, I know I'll be ready.

"After I pass the threshold of pain, I just don't feel it anymore."

This could be the game Young works his way back into the starting lineup after coming off the bench against South Carolina and LSU, but he wasn't sure what the head coach would decide.

Being introduced in front of the crowd, whether at home or on the road, has its perks, but for Young, he wants to start to save one of his teammates.

"I miss the opening tip," Young said with a smile. "(Erik Murphy) looks pretty awkward out there doing it. I don't think he knows how to stand the right way."

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