After a surprise snub in the NBA draft, Florida senior center Patric Young will try to latch on in the Big Easy.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Young confirmed Friday he’s accepted a summer league invite with the New Orleans Pelicans. Young said he didn’t work out for the Pelicans, but that they were one of the first teams that interviewed him during the NBA draft combine.
“I think that during the interview that they were impressed that my focus was on rebounding and playing solid defense,” Young said.
In New Orleans, Young could be walking into a favorable situation. Other than standout center Anthony Davis, the Pelicans the lack young, physical players inside. Young could fill that role if he impresses during the summer. The Pelicans begin summer league play July 11 in Las Vegas.
The news Friday helped take some of the sting out of not being selected Thursday night. Draft analysts had projected Young as an early-to-mid second round selection.
“Obviously, there’s disappointment and there is a lot that goes through your mind, whether you are going to get your chance,” Young said. “I’m just thankful now that weight is off my shoulders and I will get that chance to show that I belong in the league.”
Coincidentally, Young and Davis were rivals in 2012 when Young started at Florida as a sophomore and Davis started at Kentucky. Young had one of the best games of his career against Davis, finishing with 21 points and 9 rebounds in a 74-59 loss to Kentucky at the O’Connell Center.
“I wouldn’t say we’re friends, but there’s a measure of respect there,” Young said. “Hopefully, if I make the team, he’s someone I can learn from and I won’t get my shot blocked too much.”