Almost a year to the date from when he initially offered up a verbal commitment to Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators, Patric Young made things official. Yesterday, the 6-foot-9 big man from Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence secured his future by signing a national letter of intent to play basketball for the Gators.
While the school has yet to officially announce his signing, Young is all set and Florida fans couldn't be happier. Not only is he super prospect who currently checks in at #18 nationally according to scout.com, he's a polite, personable and engaging kid who is equally outstanding away from the basketball court. Simply put, it's going to be an upset if he doesn't end his career as a fan favorite and productive performer.
With that in mind, we take a much closer look at exactly what type of player Florida will be getting in Young.
Usually in this section, I like to start off by listing my initial thoughts of a player from the first time I saw them. Generally, I'll include a bit of the eval that I wrote in my scouting service for college players. However, I was never able to include Young in one of those scouting reports so I'll have to go from my early memories of seeing him in the summer of 2008.
The first thing that jumped out to me was how hard he played. I thought that he was raw, but he had a long and wiry strong body at the time and exploded off the floor for dunks, rebounds and blocked shots. Even though I hadn't seen a ton of him, I saw enough to know that he was going to emerge as a high major prospect. I even ranked him #51 in the class of 2010 prior to the start of his junior year despite not seeing him near as much as I would have liked to.
Much of what stood out to me about Young during my early viewings of him remains the same. He's still an explosive straight up leaper with excellent timing who poses a formidable threat as a shot blocker both on the ball and rotating from the weak side. Because he goes straight up and down and can get to his peak elevation so quickly, he's also pretty good about avoiding the silly fouls (slapping down, biting on pump fakes) that so often plague young shot blockers.
He's grown a bit since I first saw him and the added strength is evident in his low post game. While so many other big men are desperately trying to prove that they can face up and fire jumpers from between 15 and 20 feet, Young totally embraces the role of power player, dunker and intimidator. A major part of being a great player is knowing your strengths and understanding your limitations. In that regard, there are few players in the class of 2010 who seem to have as good a feel for their own game as Young does.
In transition, he's a thoroughbred who runs the floor exceptionally well and finishes strong. His hands are big, strong and sure and he's pretty nimble in the low post. Also, he's surprisingly good passer and not too bad off the bounce where he likes to use shot fakes and explode to the rim with quick one and two dribble drives for jams.
While he has certainly improved his footwork and overall offensive repertoire over the past year, Young still has plenty of work to do. The power game he favors is fine now and shouldn't even be a problem on the college level, but the added threat of being able to shoot jumpers from between 10-12 feet would really make him dangerous. As things stand, he's tough to play pick and roll/pick and pop with because he's just not much of a threat to pop and hit the medium range jumper. Defenders are able to play off of him in those situations which limits both his and the ball handlers options.
During the summer, he demonstrated that he's got a promising move in his jump hook. He feels contact, spins to his left shoulder and elevates to drop it home. Now, he's just got to be sure to follow through a little better and eliminate his tendency to line drive them into the bucket. Additionally, he'll need to work on making the same maneuver to his right shoulder and being able to score with his left hand.
Finally, Young's footwork still needs some refinement. He's quite agile, but if his preliminary move is cut off by a defender, he is lacking the footwork to go immediately into a counter move and avoid either traveling or getting a bit out of control.
As things stand, Young projects as guy who will likely spend a fair amount of time playing the center position on the college level. The game has gotten so much smaller and quicker that he's the ideal candidate for that role. It's also quite likely that he'll be able to develop into a serious intimidator and rear end kicker in the SEC. While he's already strong, he's going to be an absolute beast of an interior player once he gets the benefits of a college weight room and training table.
This is a kid who should be able to anchor the Gators front line for years to come and be quite productive on both ends of the floor while doing so.
Thanks to hard work and God given gifts, Patric Young has secured a scholarship to play basketball at Florida and he shows all the signs of being a major producer sooner than later. Also, he's positioned himself to be a viable candidate for the McDonald's All-American game and other high school honors.
In the grand scheme of things, any weaknesses that he currently has are all things that should be easily cleared up with coaching and experience. He's already proven that putting in the work won't be an issue.
Finally, Young is the type of kid that coaches want on their team, that scouts love to evaluate and that fans love to cheer for. Clearly, he's a recruiting home run for the Gators.