A two-year starter, Florida senior center Patric Young has more in-game experience than any player on UF’s roster.
So it’s natural to assume Young will take on the role of team leader in 2013-14. But it takes more than game experience to lead. Florida coach Billy Donovan said that for Young take on that mantle, he must first be accountable for himself.
“It’s very difficult to go out or tell people what to do or lead or direct him, when you aren’t doing all you need to do,” Donovan said before a Capital City Gator Club gathering in Tallahassee. “That’s the biggest part of being of leader.
“I’m not so much worried about the leadership part, as I’m concerned about Patric continuing to grow, as he has. Patric is a great kid. And I think him every single day setting an example with his work ethic … I will say this about Patric’s work ethic, he has done a really, really good job this summer. This has been the most consistent summer he’s had up to this point in time. Hopefully that will continue.”
Young had an up and down junior season. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center was named to the All-SEC defensive team and finished with a team-high 58 blocks. But Young’s scoring and rebounding numbers (10.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) were nearly identical to his sophomore year. While Young’s low post scoring game hasn’t developed, Donovan thinks he is capable of dominating a game with transition buckets and putbacks alone if he played with a higher motor for longer stretches.
Perhaps Young is getting the message. He’s down nine pounds from at this point last season, which suggests that he’s in better shape.
“It takes a special, special individual just to take over a team,” Donovan said. “I think another thing too is when you are leader, you get judged, sometimes you get judged, people judge you a little bit inside a team …
“Patric has always tried to be a leader. He’s always been a really good team guy. He’s about the team. He’s about winning. And I think the best way for Patric lead is by his work ethic and by his example and doing all the things he can do leadership wise each and every day.”
Young’s summer conditioning included this workout with UF’s football team. He showed soft hands catching passes from backup Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy. It impressed Florida football coach Will Muschamp enough to half joke he wouldn’t mind having Young dress for a few games and run a few routes near the goal line at tight end.
Asked if he would let Young play football, Donovan said: “I wouldn’t mind watching Patric run a few plays, if Will lets me take (Defense end Ronald) Powell or one of those guys if I need to give a couple of fouls. So we can give a swap for a play or two, maybe of Patric is in foul trouble and we need to give a foul, we can grab one of his guys.”