This Gator Will Represent the USA

Jacksonville native Patric Young, one of six signees to the 2010 men's basketball recruiting class at Florida, will participate as a member of the USA Basketball Men's U-18 National Team, a squad comprised of 12 of the nation's top players 18 and under. Young, who was scheduled to arrive in Gainesville for classes on June 22 will now have to wait until July 1, of course for good reason.

Patric Young is the star of the Gators 2010 recruiting class and comes to Florida with all the accolades. However, few of those accolades stand up to representing his country. We caught up with Young Wednesday night and he talked about the chance to play against the world and represent America.

"It means a lot because not too many people get a chance to come out here and a lot of players weren't allowed to come out here and try," Young said. "I was glad just to come out here first of all and then I was capable of making the team. It means a lot because I can represent my country and bring the gold back."

Young is one of 19 invitees to try out for the squad over the past three days. The team will be coached by Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel with assistants Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech) and Reggie Witherspoon (Buffalo). He will join the USA squad in its quest for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas from June 26-30.

When he is done representing his country, Young says he has a surprise in store for Billy Donovan and staff when he gets back home.

"I will get there July 1," he said. "I am looking forward to showing the coaches how good of shape I am and how ready I am right now to play for them. I think I am in better shape than they believe I am."

He explained further showing an understanding of the Florida staff and how they like to prepare freshmen for the rigors of college basketball.

"The first day I come in they are going to try and break me and I think it is going to take a lot more than they think to break me like that," he said. "I have been playing a lot of pick up games. Today I had the hardest practice I have ever had in my life. I did really well. I was really tired at the end of practice and (Coach Capel) pushed us real hard. If we walked, he put us on the base line and made us run sprints."

Young is excited about his first year with the Gators and the steps he hopes the program will take during his freshman campaign.

"I think if I come out there and play hard like I did today...Coach Capel challenged me today by yelling "Pat, I bet you can't get every rebound"," he said. "Of course after he said that I didn't get another rebound because everyone was blocking me all at once. But, if I go in with a mindset like I had today, I think we will go far in the tournament."

Young was getting a jump on things last week when he visited the Florida campus to take care of some loose ends before enrolling in July. It was necessary due to his late arrival and so he showed up with his mother to get everything in order.

"I went and got my blood taken, an EKG on my heart," Young said. "I opened up a local bank account, got my Gator One card, and got my parking pass. My mom was just happy we got it all out of the way."

Fellow freshman Casey Prather will be his roommate and Young kidded about Prather's personality and his definitive southern style.

"He is a real cool guy and kind of quiet," Young said of Prather. "He has his Tennessee style. You know how people talk and dress different depending on where they are from, he has his own little Tennessee style."

Young will join Prather and fellow freshmen Will Yeguette, Cody Larson, Scottie Wilbekin, and junior transfer Mike Rosario to really help a team that was depleted depth wise and still made the 2010 NCAA tournament. Young likes the make up of the freshman group.

"I think this class is going to be real competitive, especially in practice," he said.

Patric Young looks to add an immediate presence in the frontcourt for the Gators. An ability and size to play either power forward or at center, he has the skill to dominate in the paint. He is another piece to the big puzzle for Florida to make it's way back to national prominence.

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