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Florida Gators center Patric Young gets support from family

10:47 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You have to go back to 1997 to find the last time a Jacksonville native was selected in the NBA Draft.

Patric Young will have the chance to change that in the next couple of years.

There's so much more to this six-foot-nine Gator than just basketball.

And that's in large part to a family that has played, prayed, and stayed together.

Naturally, this basketball player was always the tall kid, no matter the class picture. But it wasnt hoops that first drew patric to sports.

"Patric struck out 13 ... " his dad said.

" ... and pitched a no hitter," his mom said. "And i remember him writing an essay about that."

"Baseball's my first love," Patric said.

Only problem: it overlapped with basketball season ... and as for football.

"It was out of the question. It was out of the question," his mother said.

"I had desire to," Patric said.

"I finally got Patric's dad on board," his mother said.

"He never let me play (football) because he didn't want me to get hurt," Patric said. " ... I think I was watching the Patriots play. ... I saw some receiver go up for the ball. A guy takes his knee out. I texted my dad to say thank you so much for not letting me play football, seriously."

"He hit me up and said, man, dad, thank you," his dad said.

The game of basketball will be forever grateful to the Youngs. Patric shined at Providence, helping the Stallions win a state title and has helped Florida come within a whisker of the final four in his first two seasons.

When he wasn't flipping tires, lifting kegs and pushing trucks up hills in Gainesville big pat spent the rest of the summer in Africa on a mission.

"This was definitely the best summer I've had in my life," Patric said. "The kids there really just wanted to soak in everything we were tying to teach them. They were looking at us like we were basketball gods. I told them 'I'm just a college basketball player.'"

A pretty good one who's NBA bound probably after this year, but so grateful for his time at Florida, as are his folks.

When he first went to UF, his mom said, "Patric went with a big man's body but he was a little boy. And the NBA, as glamorous as it can be, it's still a job. And those of us on the other side of college realize you can have a wonderful job, you can get up in the moring and say 'I love my job, but it's still a job.'"

Patric recently interviewed Joakim Noah.

"Just talking to Joakim, he said 'All I do is play hard, rebound and they pay me sixty million dollars.' I said 'I can do that!'"

This week, Patric returns home for quite a hoops game. He'll be part of the Navy Marine Corps Classic on the USS Bataan.

"That's pretty cool. I don't know what to expect ... haven't played on a ship that you know could rock a little bit. My teammates are really excited. We get to wear some really cool jerseys too."

Big Pat hopes hes still wearing that Florida jersey in April in Atlanta, the site of this year's Final Four.

"I want to come away with a championship. We have come so close the past two years. I want to be able to look myself in the eye and say that i gave it everything i had."

First Coast News

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