As the beginning of basketball season is near, the Blue Zone provides a detailed preview of each player on Duke men's basketball's 2023-24 roster. We've already looked at Stanley Borden, Spencer Hubbard, Neal Begovich, Jaden Schutt, Christian Reeves, Jaylen Blakes and TJ Power. Next up is graduate center Ryan Young:
Year: Graduate student
Last year’s stat line: 17.7 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 APG
Game breakdown: After transferring from Northwestern last year, Ryan Young is entering his sixth season of college basketball with a personality and mindset that Blue Devil fans have come to love. The host of “The Brotherhood Podcast,” Young has come into his own at Duke and built an image that reflects his intelligence and leadership, both on and off the court.
Last season, the 6-foot-10 center found a role coming off the bench while surrounded by a talented, but inexperienced, roster. Young provided consistent and efficient scoring, shooting 68.5% from the field and 81.3% from the line, including a standout performance Dec. 31 against Florida State where he shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the field to register his season-high 20 points for the Blue Devils. The Stewartsville, N.J., native creates high-percentage layups for himself at the rim with strong physicality, deceptive pump fakes and efficient footwork.
Young also cemented himself as a true hustle player — he was the first to the floor on every loose ball, consistently showing grit and a dedication to winning that any program would value.
Role on the team: Young brought much-needed experience and leadership to last season’s young squad. Now, his leadership role will be formalized, as he is named one of the team’s captains, alongside senior Jeremy Roach and sophomore Tyrese Proctor. Though the team has returned four starters this time around, Young’s veteran influence will remain invaluable to a Duke roster with championship aspirations.
With Dereck Lively II’s departure for the NBA and Kyle Filipowski finding a more natural fit at the four, Young’s minutes will be dependent on the development of sophomore center Christian Reeves. It is likely that Young’s ability to work in the post and grab boards — he averaged 5.5 rebounds per game last season — will earn him a steady spot in the rotation early on. Regardless of what the exact breakdown ends up being, Young will be able to find his place amongst the big men as someone who can instantly make an offensive impact.
NBA comparison: Young’s game can be in many ways compared to Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets. Known for their footwork and strength in the post, both players combine size and finesse to get to the rim without overwhelming athleticism. In addition, both centers have been weaker on the defensive end. Defensive impact is a critical sphere in which Young will have to step up a notch to mirror the much-needed rim protection from Duke’s most-successful big men of recent years.
Projected Stats: 15.5 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.0 APG
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