Among the parade of injuries Florida head coach Billy Donovan announced Friday was senior Patric Young. Young has tendonitis but called it “general wear and tear” and has accepted it as “something I’ll have to deal with the rest of my career.” Based on his performance this season, as long as he stays healthy, he could be looking at a productive career in the NBA.
Young has always been a defensive stalwart; the question was about his offensive game. While he’s only averaging .8 points per game more than last season (10.9) he’s starting to show some varied offensive moves including a reliable hookshot as well as a baseline jumper and a baseline drive move.
He improved upon his season scoring average in Florida’s 74-58 win over the Gamecocks, scoring 13 points, tied for second most on the team. Despite the knee soreness Young expects to suit up tomorrow night.
“I expect to be full go,” Young said. “When the buzzer sounds, I think I’ll be ready to go and be able to get myself ready with full warmup and stretch and whatever I have to do tonight to get myself prepared to go.”
They’ll need him at his best when they face the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday.
“Coach Donovan says they’re a top-10 team at home,” Young said. “I don’t know what it is, but when they’re there, they’re a completely different team. We have to prepare for that. We can’t take them lightly like we did last year.”
The last time Florida took a trip to Fayetteville it didn’t turn out the way the Gators hoped. Riding high on a 10-game winning streak and newly supplanted as the No. 2 team in the country UF was blown out of the gym by an Arkansas team that was firing on all cylinders. At one time in that game the Razorbacks had a 27-point lead and although the Gators ended up only losing by 11, the stench remained around one of Florida’s four conference losses last season.
Young talked about how frustrating the night was, and how an injury sustained by forward Will Yeguete further compounded the issues. But in the end he conceded that it was, “just their night.” He also admitted that experience helped him and the rest of the team.
“I think we just took it for granted and allowed human nature to seep in,” Young said. “We were the No. 2 team in the country, so we could relax and have this entitlement to ourselves. But going into the game, after losing like we did last year, we know we can’t do that at all.”
On Saturday, Florida is hoping that the human nature of complacency doesn’t override the strict commitment to its gameplan. As good as Patric Young has been on offense recently, it would take a super human effort for him and his teammates to make a comeback if they fall into a 27-point hole again this time around on the road.