Despite limited playing time this season, Florida freshman center Patric Young’s name had been popping up on NBA draft web sites for 2011 because of his size (6-9, 245 pounds) and projected upside.

But Young said Friday night that he definitely intends to return to Florida for his sophomore season.

“I love being in school right now,” Young said following Florida’s win Friday night against Tennessee. “I like getting my education. I’m learning more from Coach (Donovan) and he’s got a lot to offer me. He’s going to help develop me so when I go to the NBA, I’ll already be ready and teams won’t have to worry about developing me anymore.”

Young, who had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench against Tennessee, is averaging 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds this season. But his value can’t be measured merely in statistics. Young has provided a physical presence in the paint that the Gators have lacked in recent seasons.

Next season, Young will probably move into the starting lineup with Florida’s all-senior frontline graduating. That, and a chance to improve his limited offensive skills,  factored into Young’s decision to stay.

Young was named to the SEC all-freshman team earlier this week.

“It just means that I’m doing all the right things,” Young said. “I just need to keep working. It’s not over yet.”

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