Gators' Young to Wildcats: It won't be easy
Florida big man Patric Young isn't dazzled by all the hype surrounding Kentucky's latest crop of hotshot NBA prospects.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Florida Gators big man Patric Young isn't dazzled by all the hype surrounding Kentucky's latest crop of hotshot NBA prospects.
The Wildcats are the favorites to win the Southeastern Conference with eight signees, including six McDonald's All-Americans. The freshmen will have to earn the brawny Young's respect -- and all those projected victories.
"I hope they think they can just walk on the court and they're going to beat everybody," Young said Thursday at SEC media days. "I hope that's what they think.
"As soon as they play a real top team, they're going to see it's not just a walk in the park. One and done is not for everybody."
The defending SEC champion Gators might have the best shot at challenging the Wildcats for the title after three consecutive trips to the regional finals in the NCAA tournament.
They have seven players returning from a 29-8 team, including currently suspended guard Scottie Wilbekin, who will miss some games to start the season.
But it's the Wildcats and all those newcomers with fabulous high school pedigrees who are getting much of the attention. Freshman forward Julius Randle is the league's preseason player of the year.
Florida coach Billy Donovan raves about Randle, whom he coached to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 tournament over the summer. Donovan called him "one of the nicest kids I've ever been around."
Not to mention the skills that have him regarded as a potential NBA lottery pick.
"Oh, I love him," Donovan said. "First, he's got a really, really high basketball IQ. I think he's a pass-first guy. He's very unselfish. I think maybe the best skill that he's got is passing the basketball. He's got great vision.
"I think the other thing for him is his size. He's as quick of a 6-9, 240 guy as I've ever seen with the ball in his hands. He's got great handling and passing skills. I think his jump shot has gotten better. I think his whole post game has gotten better. But he is an incredible player on his feet."
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