Is Patric Young the Clark Kent of 2010?
June 18, 2010
Standing at 6-9 and carrying a muscular frame that weighs in around 250 pounds, Patric Young is an imposing presence on the court who fights to the finish for the good guys. Get Young off the court, however, and you'll find that he's a mild-mannered guy who cares about the people around him, wants to help better the lives of others and is enjoying learning from some of this country's top coaches. It's like when the powerful Superman changes back into nice guy Clark Kent.
He plays in a similar style to Olympic gold medalist Dwight Howard, his favorite NBA player, which adds fuel to the comparisons.
The recent high school grad from Providence School in Jacksonville, Florida, hustles, rebounds, blocks shots and will be an inside force for the 2010 USA Basketball U18 National Team during the June 26-30 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Young is heading to the University of Florida in the fall, the thought of which is sure to make his future SEC opponents cringe, and his family couldn't be happier. He grew up watching his grandparents cheer on the Gators in football. And not just from the comfort of their living room. They had season tickets to Florida football games and made the hour and a half trek from Jacksonville to Gainesville in the comfort of an RV.
He already has USA Basketball experience under his belt after helping the 2010 USA Junior National Select Team top the World Select Team 101-97 in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit. He signed with one of the nation's top schools. He won a state championship title after averaging 14.9 ppg., 12.4 rpg. and 3.2 bpg. in leading Providence to a 31-1 record as a senior en route to the Florida Class 2A crown. And he's collected 2010 All-America honors from no less than Parade Magazine (second team), McDonald's and Slam Magazine (honorable mention).
What hasn't Patric Young accomplished? Well, he hasn't won a gold medal, for one. And he's hoping that will change come June 30. He also hasn't changed the world for the disadvantaged, but he's hoping to be a force for good in the years to come.
One thing is for sure and that is the face that Pat Young is a young Clark Kent/Superman with a bright future ahead of him.
How has training camp been for you so far?
I didn't expect practices to be as hard as they were. I didn't know what to expect from a college coach. I tell you what, coach Capel is probably the best coach I've had in my life so far. I've had no one teach me and stay on me as much as he has out here, pushing me and expecting nothing but the best out of me. There's a lot of energy out there. The last few days before they made the cuts, I was out there making sure I did all the right things, making sure I got every rebound, because I know I'm the kind of guy who likes doing all the dirty work. Not everyone out here likes doing that kind of thing. I'm just grateful that I got the chance to be out here.
How much will this experience, working with college coaches, going up against some of the best players in the country, help you at Florida next year?
It's going to help me a lot because the first time (after the team was named) that we had our practice, that was probably the hardest practice I've ever had in my whole life. I think I'll be a little bit prepared for what coach Donovan will have for me there, but I'm sure he's going to try and kill me the first time out. But it's all good.
Playing for USA Basketball, athletes get the opportunity to play for a variety of different coaches who have different styles. Have you picked up anything from USA assistants Paul Hewitt or Reggie Witherspoon?
Yes. Coach Hewitt has helped me out a lot with my post game so far. He's been pushing me to not worry about missing shots, but to keep working on getting in the reps, just keep focusing and trying to knock the shots down when we're down there working on post moves. He's always out there helping me watch out for the big guys. He's a big man specialist, I'll tell you that.
What are you planning on studying at Florida?
I've been talking with the trainer (David Craig) out here and I'm pretty interested in sports medicine. I'm going to talk to my mom about it and see what she thinks. It might be my major for four years, if I stay in college that long. Who knows?
And if you leave early, you'll return to earn your degree?
I'll finish it up, yes.
Your grandparents are big Gator fans. Are they excited about the prospect of watching you in a Florida uniform?
Yes. They used to have season tickets for Gator football games. Now they can get season tickets for Gator basketball. Now they can watch me play. They're in Jacksonville, it's just an hour and a half. They have an RV, so the whole family can come down, tailgate and go to the game.
Are you and your family close?
Yes, I'm really close with them.
Did your sister compete in sports?
She went to Florida State and she was a golfer. Now she's working out and trying to get her pro card.
What have you been doing off the court?
Most off the off the court stuff has been sleeping due to the loss of energy from all these practices (laughs).
Who has emerged as the team leader?
I'd say it's either me or Kyrie (Irving).
What do you two bring as leaders?
Kyrie, nobody can stop him offensively. He knows how to run a team. Then I talked with coach Capel when I made the team and he told me that he needs somebody to be a leader on the defensive side, to be a vocal leader, to anchor the team. So I'm stepping up to that role, making sure that other teams can't score and whatever else I can do to help with the defensive side.
Who would you say are the jokesters in the group?
Vander Blue. He just talks about everybody (laughing), and Quincy, he talks just about as much as Vander, but Vander is the worst. He talks about everybody. In a good way, it's always funny.
You played in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit. What did you learn about the international game as a member of that team?
It's tough, real physical. Those guys are real disciplined. They don't give up easily. We were down in the third quarter and came back and won it in the fourth quarter. We thought we had it in the bag, but they didn't give up in the second half. They came back and took the lead from us. We just came back and did what we had to do. Jared Sullivan and Harrison Barnes came in there and helped us out there.
You would like to help end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. What are you hoping to do?
I'd like to learn more about it, first of all, because I know it's really bad. Then whatever I can do to help. If I can eventually go there and help families, that are barely hanging on by a limb. I would love to go and help them, do whatever I can because it's a really bad situation there right now.
Were you active in the Jacksonville community?
Yes, before I went to Providence, I was in the chorus for three years. We went out and sang a lot. I helped out at my dad's middle school, helping them with their studies. I'm planning on doing some community service at Florida, doing whatever I can do. You always have to give back because you have to be grateful for what you have.
Do you read a lot or are you a movie buff?
I read the Bible a lot, me and Kyrie (Irving) have been reading the Bible out here. As far as going to the movies, I'm not that big of a movie guy. If all my friends are going to the movies, I'll go. I won't just get up and go by myself or go out and buy some movies. I've been reading a book on Alonzo Mourning. It's about his life and how he had the kidney problem and had to retire three times, then finally came back and got his championship.
What's your favorite Bible verse?
Probably what B.J. (Johnson) told me today: Galatians 3:23 â€˜whatever you do, do with all of your heart.' That's what I've been thinking about whenever I get out here, making sure I'm giving it my all.
You seem like you are a well-rounded person who knows the importance of giving back. Did you learn that from your parents?
My parents put it into my head, I grew up with my own morals that I learned from them. I just applied it to my life and that's just me.