Back in July, video of Patric Young's crazy summer workouts surfaced. And it was nuts. To summarize...
Jogging while holding a punching bag? Check. Pulling a small car from resting position? Check. Pushing a two-ton truck? Check.
That's awesome and everything, and CrossFitters rejoice to see major college athletes throwing around random object, but will this make an impact on Young's game this season?
Consider last season, when Young was second on the team in both rebounds and blocks (behind Bradley Beal and Erik Murphy, respectively), despite clear physical advantages, and was less efficient on the offensive boards than both Will Yeguete and Casey Prather. Young is the most ripped big guy I've seen since Dwight Howard, and most of the time this season he will be the best combination of size and athleticism either team has.
To be fair on the rebounding stat, Young did end up with a higher rebound-per-minute played, at .24 boards/minute, than Beal's .2 boards/min., but even that points to Young's inability to secure quality minutes on a game-by-game basis.
Billy Donovan has noted that Young's conditioning wore out as the season went on, saying he was learning "how to sustain intensity over a long period of time." That means there is merit to the high-tempo workout regime: Young needs to know how to go full speed for the entirety of a stint on the floor. His lack of intensity manifested in poor effort on rebounds, inability to establish position, and his team-high 99 fouls on the season, despite playing fewer minutes.
However, with physical gifts like Young has, fans have to be wondering if it's more than simply an issue of intensity. Great players need to be able to realize mentally when they need to play "disciplined tired" ball that allows you to conserve energy while expending it at the right times. Young also continued to struggle at times with proper positioning and technique, aspects that point to the practice court and film room.
The basketball world is open for the taking this season, with no obvious dominant team existing just yet, Young can make a big impact both for his Gators and himself. He came back to Florida to improve his game and draft stock, and will have opportunities to do so. While the workout videos and on-court intensity seem to be an indication that he's working hard in a couple of areas, it's what he does in the practice gym and the film room that will have just as big of an impact on his play this season.
Tonight, against Georgetown, we'll get the first glimpse of those dividends.