Northwestern’s future frontcourt is set with the commitment of Ryan Young, a 6-foot-10 big man from Bethlehem, Pa. The rising senior chose the Wildcats over Maryland, Temple, George Washington, and Yale. Young is unranked by recruiting sites, but who cares about rankings anyway? Chris Collins and his staff see a solid center in the making, with impressive length, footwork, and a hint of an effective jump shot.
Ryan Young 2016-17 Stats
At this point in his development, Young’s size is probably his best asset. Young does a great job of leveraging his length to grab rebounds and get easy buckets. He registered double-doubles in 13 of 24 games during his junior campaign and averaged over 12 rebounds a game as well. Here, he stretches his 6’10” frame to grab an offensive rebound over a smaller player and get an easy basket.
Young has also developed some fundamental footwork that every successful big man needs. He is comfortable turning left or right from the block and knows how to use his body to seal off defenders. Matching up against taller Big Ten defenders will make the task more difficult, but Young has a year and a half of development time before he is on the floor at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
In his tape, Young hangs around the basket a lot, but that’s not to say he’s a one-dimensional player. Young has impressive body control and is unafraid to put the ball on the floor from the perimeter. He’s not going to try to beat anyone with dribble moves, but simple misdirection can go a long way. In this clip, he pump fakes, then expertly attacks his defender’s closeout before an athletic finish for the basket.
Young also has a jump shot that extends out to the three point line. He made nine of 33 attempts last season, good for 27% from deep. That isn’t a good percentage, but most 6’10” big men in high school don’t shoot threes at all. Young’s release is a bit slow, but he has lots of time to work on his mechanics and his range.
In many ways, Young’s tape is similar to that of sophomore Barret Benson’s. Both big men finish well around the rim and use their size favorably to grab rebounds and generate blocks. The main difference is strength, which is something Young has acknowledged himself. He told ElevateHoops.com that the next step is getting “bigger, faster, and stronger.” With time in the weight room, Young could be ready to see bits of action as Benson’s backup in 2018-19, filling a similar role that Benson had last season.
Young might not have the pedigree or the flashiness of Pete Nance or Jordan Lathon, but he is extremely important to the class of 2018 because of his size and skill set around the basket. Plenty of time on the practice court and in the weight room await Young, and his development will be crucial for Northwestern down the road.