Duke men's basketball 2023-24 player review: Ryan Young

Ryan Young boxes out under the basket in Duke's Sweet 16 victory against Houston.
Ryan Young boxes out under the basket in Duke's Sweet 16 victory against Houston.

As the Blue Devils’ season comes to an end, the Blue Zone is here to break down every player’s performance this year, and compare it to our preseason predictions. We already looked at TJ Power, Sean Stewart and Jaylen Blakes. Next up is Ryan Young:

Ryan Young

Year: Graduate

Height: 6-foot-10

Position: Center

This year’s stat line: 11.8 MPG, 2.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.8 APG

The Blue Zone’s projected stat line: 15.5 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.0 APG

Season breakdown: Named one of three team captains before the season started, graduate center Ryan Young was one of the most experienced members of this year’s Duke team. Despite averaging under 12 minutes per game and starting in just two, Young was one of head coach Jon Scheyer’s first options off the bench and played key minutes for the Blue Devils in many games. The Northwestern transfer finished third on the team in offensive rebounds, and his 58.2% field-goal rate was top among Duke players with at least 100 minutes logged on the floor. 

Young’s most impactful performance came in what was arguably the Blue Devils’ best win, a 54-51 Sweet 16 triumph against Houston. The big man was the first player off the bench in that game, and while he scored just four points, he finished with a game-high +18 plus-minus. Young was also crucial in Duke’s Champions Classic win against Michigan State, as he picked up eight points, seven rebounds and two assists. He scored in double digits twice, against Georgia Tech Jan. 13 and Virginia Tech Jan. 29.

The season was not perfect for Young, though, as his less-than-optimal athleticism was exploited at times by opponents. He tended to struggle against teams with high-end centers and his lack of an outside shot sometimes hampered the Blue Devils’ offense. With floor-stretching sophomore Kyle Filipowski as the starting center, Young’s post-centric playstyle was not as useful for Scheyer’s gameplan.

With that being said, Young’s poise off the bench was key whenever Filipowski got into foul trouble. A stable piece of the frontcourt, he appeared in all 36 games for Duke, and his veteran presence will surely be missed by Scheyer next season after running out of eligibility.

Results relative to expectations: Young played significantly less than he did last season — 11.8 minutes per game in 2023-24 compared to 17.7 in 2022-23 — and therefore produced less offensively. However, those numbers have less to do with the sixth-year center’s performance and more to do with the state of the roster. Young started nine games last season in place of an injured then Blue Devil center Dereck Lively II, but only started two this time around. So, while his impact on the box score was not quite up to projections, Young performed admirably in his role.

Dom Fenoglio | Sports Managing Editor

Dom Fenoglio is a Trinity junior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


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