Film room: Analyzing Duke men's basketball center Ryan Young

Ryan Young led Northwestern in offensive rebounds last season.
Ryan Young led Northwestern in offensive rebounds last season.

A new era of Duke men's basketball is on the horizon, and with it comes an almost entirely new roster. In this series, the Blue Zone analyzes film on each of the Blue Devils' new signees and transfers for the 2022-23 season. We previously looked at Kale Catchings. Next, let’s take a look at Ryan Young: 

Duke may no longer have its tallest options from last year, but it faces no shortage of size this upcoming season. Along with some towering rising freshmen, soon to make his mark in Cameron Indoor Stadium is redshirt senior transfer Ryan Young, a Big Ten standout who was a strong rebounder and scorer for Northwestern.

Young, who redshirted his freshman year, began his time as a Wildcat as the starting center, leading the team in rebounds and field goal percentage and becoming a top center in his first year. Throughout his three years at Northwestern, the 6-foot-10 Bethlehem Catholic product saw his role evolve into the sixth man. In Northwestern Athletics' YouTube series, "The Foundation," Northwestern assistant coach Brian James refers to him as a “starter who doesn’t start.”

As the Stewartsville, N.J., native comes to play for Duke, he may have to work harder to have the same role. Head coach Jon Scheyer will likely use Young similarly to Theo John in the 2021-22 season. Like the former Blue Devil, Young will undoubtedly be needed off the bench, as this freshman-heavy Duke squad will be facing veterans on other ACC teams.

One of Young's strengths is that he has the size to move around the paint and can be there to turn a missed shot from a teammate into second-chance points. That’s exactly what the center does in this clip of his old team’s March matchup with Iowa, in which the Wildcats fell 112-76. Despite the loss, Young proved he can take on top-level teams, finishing the night with 14 points, one block, one steal, one assist and one rebound in 17 minutes of playing time.

Young isn’t just good at layups in the paint; he also creates movement and gets the ball closer to the basket. In the following clip from Northwestern’s February matchup against Penn State, the former Wildcat gets the ball but draws the double team. Instead of forcing the shot, he looks for the open player and passes to him to score before his defenders get a chance to react. 

Not only does Young shine on the offensive side of the court, but he also has a flair for defense as well. With his 6-foot-10, 240-pound stature, he is a versatile option off the bench. His defensive IQ throughout three years on the Wildcats improved as can be seen in this clip, in which he tips a Purdue pass to teammate Chase Audige, causing a fast break and an Elyjah Williams layup. 

Soon Young will be suiting up for Duke, and the Blue Devil faithful will have the chance to see him take his skillset and apply it to his new role.


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