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Northwestern men’s basketball player previews: C Ryan Young

The redshirt first year should play a significant role after the departures of Dererk Pardon and Barret Benson.

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Who he is:

Redshirt first-year; center; 6-foot-10; 235 pounds; Bethlehem, PA; former three-star recruit.

Stats:

N/A

Strengths:

While we don’t know exactly what Young’s redshirt year will provide in terms of player development, he offers important size for a Northwestern team that needs its freshmen bigs to log significant minutes and help offset at least some of the lost production from Dererk Pardon.

Based on Young’s high school film, his game mostly hovers around the rim, where he often scored over shorter high school defenders. The Pennsylvania native, who admittedly looked much smaller in some of his high school tape, has nimble feet and a decent repertoire of moves around the hoop. He also showed the ability to pop out and hit spot-up jumpers from the outside.

Young’s high school team frequently ran the offense through him, and he used his size to see over defenders and hit open teammates with incisive passes. In addition to the relatively impressive offensive skill set he displayed, the center also showed the ability to rebound, especially as he grew.

Weaknesses:

Young isn’t a creator off the dribble, which means he’ll probably serve an ancillary offensive role early in his career. Quickness could be an issue with quicker bigs or stretch centers who pull him away from the basket, and he probably won’t be a huge factor as an above-the-rim player at either end of the floor.

The redshirt year will certainly help Young acclimate to the size and speed of college big men, but his first season playing real games will definitely be a major adjustment and a learning curb should be expected. At this point in his career, Young will need his offensive touches to come from second-chance points and feeds from Northwestern’s perimeter players.

Expectations:

Young will play this season, if nothing else because the only other center on the team is a true freshman. Northwestern will probably play small a lot, particularly in crunch time, but the big man will have to be able to hold his own against Big Ten interior players for Northwestern to hold up.

Dererk Pardon was a defensive anchor for the past several seasons, so his loss leaves a huge hole at the back end of the Wildcats’ defense. Young won’t replace Pardon’s production at either end, and he doesn’t have to — he just needs to be able to log stretches of minutes without being a major liability.

If Young can rebound (especially important), defend adequately and finish off a high rate of the opportunities he sees around the rim, with the potential added bonus of a decent ability to convert at the charity stripe (he was 6-7 in limited action in last week’s exhibition), it will be a successful season for the redshirt first year.