Young boasts a different defensive reputation

The Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award has a track record. It's usually given to a fearsome shot blocker or a lockdown perimeter defender. Patric Young is neither of those, and he's aware of it. That knowledge is what makes him the defender he is. The 6-9 center is always in position and has learned the finer points of defense that make him a nightmare for the opposition.

What makes Young special, and ultimately earned him the SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, is his activity on the defensive side of the ball. He's the eyes of the defense, able to see what offensive sets the opponent is in and shout out cues to his fellow Florida defenders.

When Florida opponents heavily involve screens to run their offense, which Young estimates happens 60 percent of the time, he makes his presence felt. The senior center has mastered hedging screens, making it easier for Scottie Wilbekin to fight through a screen and get back to guarding the ball.

Young also leads the Gators in charges taken. When he isn't taking a charge on an offensive player with the ball that's heading to the basket, Young has perfected the art of standing straight up with his arms extended, creating a smaller area for the shot to get to the rim.

His versatility on defense and ability to impact the game in different ways goes a long way in making him the best defensive player in the SEC.

"He makes all the rest of us look good," Wilbekin said with a laugh. "If we get beat, he's usually there to save the day, get a charge or wall up to make a difficult shot for them. He definitely makes me look good when I'm guarding the best perimeter player. He doesn't let them get anything easy off screens and allows me to get back on the ball. In my opinion, he's the best defensive big in the nation."

It's still rare for a player with his skillset to be recognized with the award. The last three honorees -- Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel and Sam Muldrow -- were known for their shot blocking and rim protecting. Young still has highlights blocks this season while trailing the play on fast breaks and swatting the ball into the crowd, but it's not what won the award for him.

He credited his ability to be in the right position.

"It says I'm usually in the right place so I don't have to be a shot blocker," Patric Young said of the honor. "I block some shots every now and then. I'm not an Anthony Davis type guy or a Nerlens Noel. It's just nice to be recognized for doing the right things by all the coaches on the committee and the people that voted me to win this award."

There's an argument to be made for Wilbekin to deserve the award after taking on the task of every opponent's top perimeter scorer. But as you'd expect from a team that has been unselfish all season, Young didn't care as much about the personal achievement as he did the high level the Florida defense continues to play.

"If there was an All-Defensive Team award, I would think that would be something more that should be praised," Young said. "We've played tremendous defense all year and hopefully we can keep that going."

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