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Northwestern men’s basketball player previews: F/C Ryan Young

The freshman could redshirt as he develops his game.

@LVBasketballrankings

Who he is:

First year; power forward; 6-foot-10; 235 pounds; Bethlehem, Pa.

The stats:

Averaged 16.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game senior year of high school; led his team to its first district title and state semifinal appearance in school history.

Strengths:

Young is relentless in the paint. His rebounding and finishing abilities define his game. In many of his highlights, you can find him getting two or three consecutive rebounds before finishing strong at the rim. His presence inside is something any team will value as basketball is now a guard’s game. In addition, his versatility at the rim, variety of effective moves and coordination is something hard to find in a big man. Finally, one of Young’s best attributes is his passing ability and vision of the court, something that most big men lack.

“He has great court vision and makes smart decisions,” his high school coach Ray Barbosa said. “We ran our offense through him a lot and he was able to hit guys on their cuts so they could finish plays. He has a great basketball IQ. His post game has also gotten a lot better. He’s really good around the rim. The thing about him is that if you tell him something once, he remembers it and never makes the same mistake again.”

Weaknesses:

While Young excels inside, his outside shot is not the focal point of his game. Over the summer, he made a conscious effort to improve his jumpshot for the coming season. Another weakness that could affect Young this season is his experience and competition in high school. As a 6-foot-10 big man, he rarely faced players close to his size, so competing against some of college basketball’s greatest could be a rude wake-up call. Hanging in the paint with physical Big Ten forwards and centers is not easy. He will need to improve his one-on-one game against tough competition.

Expectations:

Young will likely use his freshman year to learn and develop his game. It is hard to expect any first-year to have a major impact, especially with facing such a different caliber of talent than in high school. With Derek Pardon as a senior, Young can learn a lot but will likely see the court sparingly, and it would not be surprisingly if he redshirted.