Patric Young wasn’t happy following his 4 for 8 free-throw shooting performance last weekend against LSU.
For Young, it continued a season-long trend. The Florida junior center entered Thursday night’s game at Texas A&M just 50 percent (27-54) from the free-throw line. But Young said he took about 500 free throws earlier this week in the practice, and it showed on Thursday. Young went 4 for 5 from the line against the Aggies to improve to 52.5 percent for the season.
Young made his first four free-throw attempts against Texas A&M before missing one on a potential three-point play in the closing minutes.
“I wish I would have hit that last one,” Young said. “I really wanted to go there and focus and say it’s my time when I’m up here, you are a good free-throw shooter, you’ve just got to execute.”
Young’s percentage still isn’t where he wants it to be, but it’s a step in the right direction. As a freshman, Young showed good form at the line, shooting 70.3 percent in a backup role off the bench. But perhaps more fatigue effected his free-throw shooting as a sophomore. In his first full season as a starter, Young’s free-throw percentage dipped to 59.3 percent.
Young knows he’s going to get hacked during the course of the season and has to cash in when he’s fouled.
“It’s huge because I’m leaving points on the board whenever you miss free throws,” Young said. “You go 4 for 8, that’s four points that help you with your draft stock or your average on the year. I mean, it doesn’t really matter but when it comes down to the line in a game-winning situation, you need to be able to step up with confidence.”
— Florida coach Billy Donovan concurred with assistant coach John Pelphrey’s tongue-lashing of UF’s freshmen following the Texas A&M. With Braxton Ogbueze, DeVon Walker and Dillon Graham on the floor, the Gators were outscored 9-0 in the final 2:33. While Donovan understood that they could have been rusty spending 36 minutes on the bench, he also wants to see better execution on the court. “They’ve got to understand that there may be a time when they are going to have to be relied upon, foul trouble, another injury, something happens,” Donovan said. “And I think they’ve got to give us, as coaches, some confidence that when they are in there. They’ve got to know and be able to handle what their job and responsibility was and I just didn’t think we closed the game too well.”
— Here’s an excellent feature from Ron Higgins of SECsports.com on former Gator big man Matt Bonner. A perimeter shooting power forward from New Hampshire, Bonner was Erik Murphy before Erik Murphy. Bonner is making a nice living in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs as a 6-foot-10, 3-point shooting specialist.