Florida fans will get a glimpse of the future later tonight when power forward Patric Young plays in the McDonald’s All-American game.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Young is the 13th McDonald’s All-American that Florida coach Billy Donovan has signed, joining a list that includes Teddy Dupay (1998), Mike Miller (1998), Donnell Harvey (1999), Brett Nelson (1999), Kwame Brown (2001), David Lee (2001), James White (2001), Anthony Roberson (2002), Corey Brewer (2004), Nick Calathes (2007), Jai Lucas (2007) and Kenny Boynton (2009).
Young, a Jacksonville native, is just Donovan’s fourth McDonald’s All-American recruit from the state of Florida. The others were Dupay, Calathes and Boynton.
“For Patric it’s a great honor,” Donovan said. “The thing that’s been interesting in the state of Florida is that their haven’t been a lot of McDonald’s All-Americans since I’ve been here. You have Tracy McGrady who is one, Kenny Boynton, Nick (Calathes) but there hasn’t been a lot for a state so big.
“I think if you look at the McDonald’s All Americans in the state of Texas or the state of California in relation to Florida it’s been drastically different. I think any time you have a player up the road, 75 miles from your campus and you are able to have him come here to the University of Florida and to see him have the type of success he’s had … I’m happy for him.”
Of course, recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans can be tricky. Brown, for example, never made it to campus after declaring for the NBA draft. Of the 13 signed, Lee is the only one so far who stayed at UF for all four years.
The last four McDonald’s All Americans that Donovan has recruited (Brewer, Calathes, Lucas and Boynton) all started right away as true freshmen. But Young may have the luxury of developing off the bench next season behind UF’s all-senior frontline of Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons.
Of course, loading up on McDonald’s All Americans doesn’t always equate to success. Florida missed the NCAA Tournament in 2007-08 with two McDonald’s Americans (Lucas and Calathes) in the starting lineup. The Gators won back-to-back national titles, meanwhile, with just one McDonald’s All-American (Brewer) on the roster.
“We’ve had some good players in the past that haven’t been McDonald’s All-Americans,” Donovan said. “Matt Bonner was not. Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Udonis Haslem were not.”