After not being picked in the NBA draft, former Gator center Patric Young appears to be taking his frustration out on other teams in the Las Vegas NBA summer league.
Young is off to a good start, averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in two summer games with the New Orleans Pelicans. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Jacksonville native posted a double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds) in his first NBA summer league game for the Pelicans against the NBA D-League Select team.
“It’s the way I definitely wanted to start off my pro career, being a guy that’s going to go out, play hard, rebound every night,” Young told NBA.com. “From Day 1, ever since I knew I was going to be playing summer league with the Pelicans, they were telling me to focus on rebounding. So going into the game, that’s all I was focused on, going out there playing hard, going after every board.”
After his debut, Young also had high praise for Florida coach Billy Donovan’s ability to prepare him for the pro basketball.
“Coach Donovan did a good job of preparing me for what I’m going to be good at on this level,” Young said. “The (New Orleans) coaches have reaffirmed that. Go out there, be a good teammate, rebound, be a vocal leader, play good defense, have a good work ethic every day, and come in with a smile on your face, because you don’t get this opportunity every day to play basketball for a living. So enjoy it. It’s just all about effort and your mindset. I just had the will (Friday) that no one’s going to stop me from going after these loose balls.”
Young is hoping to make a strong enough impression to get signed by the Pelicans coming out of summer league play. It looks promising because the Pelicans have only one player on the roster that was drafted (second-round Louisville guard Russ Smith), who was acquired in a trade. New Orleans is looking for depth in its frontcourt behind former Kentucky center Anthony Davis, and Young could provide a valuable piece if he continues to defend, rebound and hustle for putback points.
— Former Gator point guard Scottie Wilbekin and former Gator forward Casey Prather also are trying to make their mark this summer. Wilbekin is averaging 3.4 points ad 4.8 assists in summer league stints with the Memphis Grizzlies in Orlando and Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas. Prather, meanwhile, had 4 points and 2 steals in his summer league debut Sunday night with the Atlanta Hawks.
— Former Gator guard Bradley Beal and former Gator forward Chandler Parsons were two of 19 players picked for Team USA’s national team training camp from July 28 to August 1 in Las Vegas. It’s the first step toward the possibility of either Parsons or Beal surviving cuts to make the U.S. Olympic team at the 2016 summer games.
— Florida coach Billy Donovan was on the recruiting trail last weekend during an open evaluation period. Among those Donovan watched intently was 2016, 6-foot-4, four-star shooting guard Rawle Atkins. According to SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria, Donovan has reached out to Atkins, a New York City native who goes to the same high school (Christ The King) as former Gator point guard Erving Walker. Atkins also has received a scholarship offer from Louisville.