Young pushing through fatigue

There were times when Patric Young struggled to stay on the floor last season. His high-energy style of play and struggles to push through fatigue forced Young to average 26.5 minutes per game in 2011-12. Head coach Billy Donovan recently called Young to his office to compare his minutes with those of drafted big men, proving that the junior center needs to stay on the court more this year.

"He told me there's no reason I shouldn't be able to play 32-35 minutes a game," Patric Young said. "It's a lot, but I can do it. It's all mental. I'm not going to die from fatigue on the court. If I'm tired he's going to take me out to get my rest and then back out there, but that's the biggest thing for me moving forward."

The increased conditioning faced a speed bump over the summer. Young started to get sick and was sneezing a lot. His throat grew progressively more sore, but he pushed through it and went to individual workouts and lifting. One day while working out, Young told trainer Duke Werner that he couldn't workout anymore.

Young went back to his apartment and tried to sleep but couldn't. His throat hurt so bad that he couldn't eat. That's when his roommate—Will Yeguete—came home and said Young "looked miserable" and as if he was on "his deathbed."

"At the time when I was sick, I was a little concerned," Young said.

Young's mom came to Gainesville and took him back to their home in Jacksonville. He went to the doctor and had a 103-degree fever. The doctor found that he had mono.

They were careful with the sickness and told Young it would be a slow process in getting back on the court.

"I would just get fatigued so easily," Young said. "They kept telling me it'd be a slow process and can't jump into it. I'm going to be ready come November 9."

After dealing with it for months, the junior was cleared on Tuesday after passing the conditioning test and running all of his sprints in the designated times.

He's now ready to get back on the court, but Young dealt with plenty of injuries last year, too. He dealt with foot injuries and needed an MRI and X-rays before seeing that there was nothing structurally wrong with it. He deal with tendonitis in the foot, but Donovan worried that the injury was in Young's head after he came back to the court.

The focus this season is pushing through the fatigue.

After Donovan showed Young his numbers compared to the highly drafted big men from last year, there was a conversation about some of the best Florida big men under Donovan. One of their best characteristics Donovan remembered was their ability to push through pain and fatigue to stay on the court.

"The biggest thing for Patric in all this stuff is mentally being in the right place to be able to deal with the confrontation every day of pushing himself to go to the next step physically," Donovan said. "If you look at any frontcourt player that we've had here that's been really effective, they've had a great ability to endure physical conditioning and they've been able to play through fatigue. They've all had incredible thresholds to get through that. I think from a maturity standpoint, that's an area where Patric has got to get better."

There's also the benefit for Young of having one year as a starter under his belt. It sounds trivial, but Donovan spoke multiple times last season about Young and Erik Murphy learning to control their energy and effort for a starting role.

There's also the challenge of preparing to start. Off the bench as a freshman, Young was the spark plug. He came off the bench and sprinted all over the court, knowing that he could check out of the game when Vernon Macklin or Alex Tyus came back into it. As a starter, he's the one being counted on for big minutes, and that will only increase this season.

"Going through what he went through last year, I think he realizes the importance of being in great shape," Donovan said. "I think he realizes the importance of playing with a sustained level of intensity. I think he realizes that when he doesn't do those things, he puts himself in a position where he picks up fouls and he could be on the bench early in the game."

Fightin Gators Top Stories