Young uses benching as motivation
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 5:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 5:49 p.m.
The intervention was short and swift.
After Florida junior center Patric Young was told he wouldn't be starting Thursday night's game against Marquette, his closest friends on the team huddled up with him in his dorm room. Florida coach Billy Donovan said Young's effort and pouty behavior were creating a distraction in practice.
Young's junior classmates from 2010 — Casey Prather, Will Yeguete and Scottie Wilbekin — all offered advice.
“They told me how much they loved me and that coach is going to push because he sees how great we can be,” Young said. “I believe he sees something far greater than what I see in myself. I just need to embrace the moment of adversity when he says he's squeezing us. I need to trust my teammates to help me through this rather than try and do it on my own.”
Young responded to the benching with the kind of physical, dominating performance inside that Donovan has been seeking this season. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in 22 minutes during UF's 82-49 rout of Marquette at the O'Connell Center.
Young's weak side swat of Marquette guard Trent Lockett into the second row of the O'Dome ranked No. 1 in ESPN's top-10 plays on SportsCenter.
“We all know how important Patric is to this team,” Yeguete said. “He is like a brother to us and you always want to be there to support one of your brothers.”
Young's third double-double of the season, and seventh of his career, came in front of 20 NBA scouts in attendance. But for the 6-foot-9, 247-pound Young, motivation came from letting his team down in practice the day before.
“There are two ways you can go about it, you can either pout or go into a shell, or you can try to learn from it,” Young said. “I said I was going to go there and be excited for my team, whether I played one minute or the whole game. I was going to give it my all.”
Consistency has been the biggest issue in Young's three-year career. He was bothered by foot problems as a sophomore and had to adjust to increased minutes in his first full year as a starter.
Young admitted he sometimes gets frustrated in practice because he's fouled so often. It didn't help that South Carolina transfer big man Damontre Harris, brought in to challenge Young in practice this season, suffered a torn labrum and is out after undergoing shoulder surgery.
“The thing I hate to have happen is someone being viewed or painted in a different light and as someone they are not. Patric Young is a great kid,” Donovan said. “I think my job as a coach is to bring out the best in Patric Young as a player. He was not doing that. It wasn't even performance. It was more his effort, his attitude.”
“There are certain guys that when you get on them and challenge them, they pout, feel like they're a victim, they don't respond. I think Patric has always responded. I think when you hit Patric with the truth and he has a day to reflect on himself, he usually responds pretty well. That was encouraging to see.”
Young said he expects to keep being pushed, whether he is starting or coming off the bench. The Gators begin a crucial stretch of games away from the O'Connell Center next Wednesday at Florida State.
“The day I'll start worrying is the day that coach stops getting on me for something I'm doing on the court,” Young said. “I know that coach is only doing this because he cares about me as a player and as a person.”