Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

Say good-bye to the Patric Young that terrorized opponents during a summer on the AAU circuit. Say hello to the new and improved Patric Young, the one that has been moonlighting in the weight room. He’s looking rather buff these days and he can’t wait for a chance to show off what he can do with the added muscle.

“I’m 6-8 and 220 now,” said Young (6-8, 220, Jacksonville, FL, Paxon) last week in an interview with Gator Country. “I’ve added about 8-10 pounds of muscle and I feel a lot stronger. I’m eating right and working out a lot.”

The added muscle is showing up in other measurables, too.

“I’ve added three inches to my vertical,” said Young, whose vertical jump is measured in the mid-30s right now. “I’m trying to get that up to 40-45 inches. I want to be able to touch the top of the backboard.”

This new and improved Patric Young is right there at the top of the list for Florida’s recruiting class of 2010. The Gators have targeted Young, Brandon Knight (6-3, 180, Fort Lauderdale, FL Pine Crest) and Harrison Barnes (6-6, 190, Ames, IA) for a class that figures to have two to three openings. A Florida-UConn battle is shaping up for Knight, who led Pine Crest to the state 2A championship last year, while Barnes has the Gators in the mix along with several other perennial basketball powerhouses. Everybody is talking Duke and Indiana with Barnes but the Gators remain in very good shape.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.