Young not progressing: Who’s to blame?


The curious case of Patric Young was apparent in Florida’s 79-59 Elite Eight loss to Michigan.

With a gameplan that featured dumping the ball to him and Erik Murphy inside, Young picked up two early fouls and never got in the flow of the game, finishing with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes. He was 4 of 8 from the floor and missed several bunnies around the basket.

Should we be surprised? Maybe not. Here’s what Florida coach Billy Donovan had to say about Young’s junior season last October.

“What people don’t realize in 80 percent of NBA players are role players,” Donovan said. “They fill a role. A lot of people have talked to Patric about his post moves, it’s not about that. Ive told him to try to get himself in the best shape of his life. If Patric runs the floor, gets deep post ups with his size and strength, goes to the offensive glass, he’s putting himself in position to be a scorer. But if we’re going to throw the ball to Patric in the low post two steps off the lane line, that’s not probably his strength.”

Then it was interesting that with a Final Four berth on the line that the Gators employed a strategy to dump the ball in the post to Young and Murphy, who clearly wasn’t himself all week. It wasn’t a banner day strategy-wise for UF’s coaching staff, from the offensive gameplan to the Gators leaving Michigan freshman Nik Stauskas wide open in the corner when he was the hot hand. But that’s another subject for another day.

The bigger issue is Young, who is mulling whether to return for his senior season. Young finished his junior season with 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, about the same as his sophomore year (10.2 ppg, 6.4 rebounds). And we never really saw the explosive scoring ability that Young displayed as a sophomore, when he finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds over eventual NBA first-overall pick Anthony Davis.

Florida’s track record of producing big men is strong, but much of that occurred when Alabama coach Anthony Grant was a UF assistant. Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey works with the bigs now.

Young talks about wanting to be great, but it’s fair to question if he is putting the work in to be great. His free-throw shooting has regressed since his freshman season (from 75 percent, to 59.5 percent as a sophomore to 48.9 percent as a junior). He had four double-doubles as a sophomore, and six as a junior. His defense in the post improved, but his field goal percentage (.618 as a sophomore to .586 as a junior) dropped.

Young could decide to enter the NBA draft, but he’s clearly not ready. Most NBA scouts love his body (6-foot-9, 247-pounds), but joke about his limited game. One NBA scout who watched Young at Texas A&M could predict a typical offensive sequence in the right block of the post — dribble, dribble, hook shoot. “I’d love to see some something different,” the scout said.

Young is a great student who has the right attitude, but perhaps a little more time alone in the gym to refine his skills would suit him well. Champions never stop working on all facets of their game.




  1. Clearly not ready for the NBA, but if he goes it could be a blessing for next years Gators. I haven’t seen the two transfers play enough to know what they’ll bring to the table, but with a stud McDonalds All-American coming in who can score inside and outside the paint, promising guard play with Scottie W., Michael Frazier III and the incoming 5 star McDonalds All-American at guard, I’m not sure the Gators will miss the mediocre play of Patric Young. Add to the mix Wil Yeugette and Prather, and you have a pretty awesome team to watch. Should be fun.

  2. I agree! We look really good with the two transfers and freshmen being able to play. More defense down low and better shooting guards along with the best and most honest coach in basketball!! We love you Billy; keep it up!!

    Patric could use another year and turn around some of his numbers. I have to believe the downward trend in his numbers won’t sit well with the NBA guys.

    The big arena bothered our shooters more than they will admit. How many shots came up short in both games in Dallas. I’ll bet 80% of the missed shots were short.

    Feel really bad for Murphy. He hurt his chances at the next level by completely disappearing in the biggest games of the year. He was more sick than he or any one else will admit.

  3. I agree 100%. I have been extremely disappointed with Patric Young’s offensive production. He has no real low post game and his foul shooting is absmal. Other than a dunk on a put back or offensive rebound (which was rare) the only “move” he has is a little flip/hook from either side. Even that was not reliable. He does not have a “soft” touch around the basket. He needs to develop the ability to turn and face the basket in the low post and drive strong to the rim and dunk or pull up for a short jumper. That will also open up the fake to get the defender in the air and then go under and up for an easy basket and a foul. He also needs to improve his foul shooting. He needs to stay another year.
    Next year we will have 3 point guards and alot of outside shooters as well as a good complement of big me and a shot blocker. Next year the term should be even better.

  4. I agree 100%. I have been extremely disappointed with Patric Young’s offensive production. He has no real low post game and his foul shooting is absmal. Other than a dunk on a put back or offensive rebound (which was rare) the only “move” he has is a little flip/hook from either side. Even that was not reliable. He does not have a “soft” touch around the basket. He needs to develop the ability to turn and face the basket in the low post and drive strong to the rim and dunk or pull up for a short jumper. That will also open up the fake to get the defender in the air and then go under and up for an easy basket and a foul. He also needs to improve his foul shooting. He needs to stay another year.
    Next year we will have 3 point guards and a lot of outside shooters as well as a good complement of big men and a shot blocker. Next year the team should be even better.

  5. No one is asking why we kept going inside, to the general exclusion of shooting 3 pointers, when it wasn’t working. Especially since Murphy has been shooting close to 46% all year. Don’t tell me Michigan was guarding the 3 poin line, Murphy is 6′-10″.That Michigan can’t guard the lane is, and at least WAS in the second half, a myth. (5 blocks and at least 7 steals near the basket) Yet we went to it again in the second half, even 24 points down…DUH!!! If Dillon hadn’t banked the three pointer in the last minute of the game, we would have had single digit 3 point attempts (6 in the first 30 minutes of the ball game) We usually shoot 14-17, sometimes up to 30. Sorry for venting. I wonder who scouted Michigan. I think keeping the inside game was STUBBORN!!!!~

  6. Our shots fell short, not b/c of the background (everyone is shooting at the same background) it’s b/c we never rest our starters when we have 25-30 point leads all year. Three years in a row, our team has looked tired in the elite eight. Maybe it’s a mental thing, I don’t know; but they look tired at the end of the year. That’s coaching!
    I love Donovan and never want him to leave, but learn from your mistakes, please.
    And, yes, Young will never be good in the NBA unless he gets mentally tougher. He’s strong as an ox, but he goes up like a guard in the lane, just hoping his shot doesn’t get blocked. He rarely attempts to dunk in traffic. He did it once against MI and scored and got the foul. Hello! Do that more often!

  7. Kevin, I like many other Gator supporters, am in search of “wha happened?”–thank for shedding some light and thanks to the other commentators for their insight. I hope PY stays and has a breakout Senior year!

  8. I think it would be foolish to believe the loss of Young will make the team better next year. However, maybe it will be a good thing for post players that score to be competing with him on a daily basis. he hasn’t had that his entire career (including Vernon Macklin).

  9. Not Young’s fault!!!!!. Coach D gets zillions to teach him and he has not. Coach D ( aka the haircut and/or the tie – notice that he seldom wears a tie w/orange and blue ) Three years running and not getting to the final four should tell the U of F that Coach D should move on to the Orlando team. Go Gators – fellows had a great year despite Coach haircut.

  10. I sure hope Young stays for his sake. I somehow still believe he can develop into a complete and dominant player. He really hasn’t learned how to use his body to box out properly. However, while he (by his own admission) is not gifted athletically, he has a nice abilty to spin, in either direction and put the ball up softly. I also think he could develop a better mid-range jumper (for the NBA). Horford did it. He needs better hands! Boxing out and hands can absolutely be developed. It is idiocy to think the Gators will be better off without Patrick and in any event, he has been an awesome GATOR, and Gator Nation will wish him the best whatever he decides!

  11. Hello, Kevin. Big fan. I’ve been reading everything you write for the past decade. I have a question about scholarships. If Young leaves, we only have 11 scholarship players, right? We are allowed 13, though. How are the last two filled? Hopefully not with walk-ons that can really contribute to strong depth. Thanks and Goo Gators!

  12. Patric should stay and hopefully he understands he would benefit as much as the Gators would. Believe his game would benefit from working on shooting 5 to 10 foot jump shots. This might even help with his free throws though I think it is more about confidence then technique. His confidence has sure taken a hit since his freshman year. Needs to get it back before turning Pro or he may be heading overseas instead of the NBA.

  13. At this point in his career, he either has game or he doesn’t, try as he might, if he hasn’t developed offensively (like an Al Horford or Noah), then he probably never will. Doesn’t mean you quit trying, but he should concentrate on the two things that will make him turn heads to NBA scouts, and that is defense and rebounding. Scoring in transition and offensive put-backs will get him points, but I don’t see him suddenly turning it around this summer and becoming an offensive dynamo. His return would add to the front court dominance the Gators should have next year.

  14. One other thing that could help Patric is running some pick and roll plays for him where the guards actually get him the ball when he rolls to the basket.

    All to often in the Gators high ball screen offense when the big set a screen the guard would run off the screen and shot a 3 instead of passing it down low to the big rolling to the basket.

    Also, a lot of times if Murphy was setting the screen he would not roll to the basket, but roll to the 3 point line and be open and get the pass and shoot an open 3.

    With the addition of some legitimate low post players I think Billy and the Gators need to develop more of a low post game to go with the long ball.

  15. I feel for him but it is really all on him. He probably will be a power forward in the NBA and needs a jumper from about 12 feet, better rebounding and better inside shooting. Working with weights is not needed, but rather shooting. Perhaps a shooting coach. I love him as a student and he covers up on D, but we need much more to be successful.

  16. As I said in the Twitter response to you, Pelphrey worked with the earlier post guys, too, and no one ever complained about Haslem’s work on the blocks. Nor do Donovan’s comments imply that Young isn’t working on his post game. The five’s job in most of our half court sets is to seal his man in the low post. Donovan’s point was that Young won’t have a future in the NBA as a back to the basket post player because that position is falling out of usage. He isn’t going to be a low post scorer at the next level and we aren’t going to force him into that mold here. But that doesn’t mean he can’t or shouldn’t post up effectively; hence, “gets deep post ups with his size and strength” from your citation.

  17. I think that Patric spends too much time in the weight room and not enough time in the gym working on his basketball skills. His unwillingness or inability to rebound consistently and make free throws is a real liability in the center of our offense.

  18. i am seeing something different but of course what do i know… but here goes.

    i think teams started guarding the 3 pt line really well and switching on them when they had the personnel. seemed like they forced gators to beat them inside and there were open looks inside. so do you huck up a contested 3 or take a closer shot with players who aren’t scorers, except for murphy, but still he is more pick and pop.

    donovan was right he said we were like 0-11 within 3 ft of the basket. you saw that with fgci as well.

    i dont think conditioning is the issue. in the off season they have a pretty strong conditioning coach. i think they need some touch around the rim. based on these comments- “But if we’re going to throw the ball to Patric in the low post two steps off the lane line, that’s not probably his strength.” – from these comments it seems coach thinks there’s more return on invested time to work on conditioning rather than skills. you can see donovan goes with the percentages. you wonder if that hurts them when someone needs to take tough contested which might normally considered a “bad” shot.

    young seems to have a great attitude as do most of the gators. hope it works out well for him.

  19. Coach D is one of the best in the country. We are very lucky to have him. Anyone who thinks otherwise does not know what they are talking about. As fans and alumni we can vent and express our frustration. We can question decisions and game plans, and be analytically and express our own opinions, but the one thing we can not question is coach D’s belief that he is doing what is right and what’s best for the Gators. Two national championships, numerous final fours and elite eight appearances, and season after season of 20 plus wins has earned him our respect and admiration. Keep it up!!!

  20. Since I only consider myself a casual observer of basketball, and CERTAINLY no tactician/analyst, would you folks prefer Young stay and develop, or declare and free up the scholarship for someone else?

  21. PY should divide his summer by going to NYC for pick-up games with NOAH and roughing it up in the ATL with HORFORD.

    He will almost certainly remain limited on offense. Defense and rebounding, however, are creatures of effort. He should become a disciple of Rodzilla. That wierdo was a defense-playing/rebounding fool.

    PY must become ferocious and relentless.

  22. Young is improving. Anyone who knows basketball can see it. I agree that his mind and ability hasn’t caught up with his body but he has been improving. Its hard to see on such a balanced team of his improvements especially if one chooses to look at such deceiving stats but if you watch his game in detail you can see improvements. For one, his hands, he has soft hands and can catch in traffic, he knows how to set up his defender up when doing his post move. He does need to work on more moves but it will come. His soft touch around the basket has also improve tremendously. He’s learning to keep his motor going more consistently. He has improved, I dont think he is ready for the NBA but we cant sit here and say he hasn’t improved. The bad deal with a post guy his he can only affect the game if the guards can give him the ball. He was 4-8 in the Michigan game but we frequently gave him the ball out of position and expected him to make something happen, that’s not his game.

    Also, the strategy might have been to go down low but it didn’t happen very much with Young. We kept going to the post to Murphy, who might be the worst post up player in the nation (including guards), for some reason. At 6’10 Murphy gets blocked more than Sharrif Floyd. Young has no help on the block and the spacing was terrible. Billy D isn’t to blame, top-3 coach in the nation, the players are not understanding concepts and sticking to what they are wanting to accomplish. I don’t think the strategy was to go down-low but even if it was we also have to hit a occasional shot from outside to open it up inside. Young is fine, I expect him to make even more jumps next in his Senior year.

  23. I’ve always wondered how UF BB would benefit if they hired an ex-NBA post player to recruit and coach the bigguns.

    I think Young would benefit from the old George Mikan drills.

    I practiced by laying flat on the floor and shooting the ball at the ceiling one handed, then catching it on the drop with the other hand. Back and forth, hand to hand, over and over, until the release and spin were perfect.

  24. I believe Pat needs to improve his runs. Sometimes he a bit slow to get back and it looks like he isn’t in a hurry. I would suggest cardio exercises.

    With that said let me say this, no one and mostly Kevin have any business criticizing Patric Young and his playing abilities. He is a GREAT representative of the University of Florida and I’m sick of reading a bunch of half wits comments. Every year you half-wits pick on someone else, from Dan to Kenny and now Patric. I hope Patric’s parents aren’t reading the half wit comments. Shut your pie holes and let the Coach with 2 NC rings take care of the Basketball program. Most of you dolts don’t even attend the games and show support.

    Patric if you read this or any other future BB players, these are not Gators, these are front runners.

    Go Gators and Go Big Pat

  25. It depends on what you mean by being ready for the NBA….is he ready to be a star low post threat for a team? NO…can he be a role player for a team with his size and defense? YES…but his rebounding will need be better…that’s why he might be a late second round pick or free agent at best…teams like the Heat or thunder would pick him up because of his size and strength and defense.

  26. Zach, Would help if someone finally came out and gave Young’s real height–about 6 ” 8 “. As far as his getting better, why don’t you become hig agent and convince the NBA of your belief. the best of luck to you.

  27. Hey “GatorINNC”,Since when does a columnist not have the “right” to criticize a basketball player on a team he covers. As far as the “half-wits”, let’s check out the massive number of NBA player personnel guys who tend to agree with the “half-wits” that Patric better start working on that Rosetta Stone to prepare himself for Italy, Spain, Bulgaria or whatever international venue where he finishes his career.

  28. By the way Patric, you have every right to ignore the “half wits” but I would seriously consider taking seriously the guys in the NBA who don’t believe you can play. You were suppose to be a “One and Done” remember that dream in the distant past? Now as a result of your desultory results you are on the cusp of NEEDING to return for a senior year to TRY to prove if you have any viability as an NBA player. Stay or go, I really don’t think it matters. You were over hyped–not your fault!!! and people have foolishly waited for an impact player to arise from a guy who is making high school recruiting analysts in this particular situation resemble “half-wits.”

  29. What the h@ll is up with all the negative comments regarding this article? People…we just went to the Elite Eight for the third year in a row!!! All Brockway writes about is negatives! All you minions who agree with him must not remember UF hoops before Donovan. Great job Coach D! Ignore the negative idiots on this site.

  30. Hey GatorInNC, Only one way to determine who is correct. Does he get draftet, if he gets drafted does he make a team. I’m saying the FORMER “One and Done” is already DONE!!. Let’s see how it plays out. Surprised one mock draft has him going as high as 54th. Doesn’t really matter if he returns or not to improve his status. He is Boyntonesque,another “One and Done” who has watched his high school buddy, Knight, go to the NBA 3 years ago. Boynton will make a lot of money and have a wonderful life playing basketball. Just won’t be in the United States of America or Toronto, Ontario, canada. They are what they are. Watch it play out. Also watch Young come back BECAUSE he has been told to come back and try anything. Another year averaging 6 rebounds a game with a Ben Wallace body and that 54th slot will look really good.

  31. Wait until it comes out that Young is really 6’8″ when the NBA does the measurements. Wonderful!!!!! Too small to play with the bigs and with no offensive game. Looks like Ben Wallace and plays like Brenda Wallace.

  32. Young made the right choice by returning. He needed the extra year to improve his overall game. If he improves his conditioning and his free throw shooting to a reasonable percentage and adds a move or two to his offensive game he will greatly improve his draft stock. He will also be a vital cog in the team.

  33. Wow! A lot of negative and harsh remarks about a kid who excels in the classroom and is part of the first Florida Gators basketball class to reach three straight Regional Championship Games. Whether Patric plays in the NBA or overseas, he will make more money than probably everybody criticizing him with such over the top remarks. Probably the same know it all people who really know very little about the game, never played it and also criticized Matt Bonner or Chandler Parsons their junior years. Maybe to those who are so harsh, their lives did not play out so well. Sad.