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With bulging biceps, a thick chest and chiseled legs, Patric Young certainly looks the part of an NBA power forward/center.

As he strolls the sprawling Metairie campus that the New Orleans Pelicans share with the New Orleans Saints, the hulking 6-foot-9, 247-pound Young almost looks too fit and powerful.

"First of all (we) have to keep everybody from across the street away," Pelicans assistant and summer league coach Bryan Gates joked Tuesday after a summer league minicamp practice. "(Saints) Coach (Sean) Payton and obviously (defensive coordinator Rob) Ryan are not allowed at summer league practice to see big Patric."

Young, a former Florida standout who surprisingly went undrafted in last month's NBA draft, is among 14 players competing on the Pelicans summer league team.

Although he has been given no guarantees of a regular season roster spot, Young understands he has an opportunity to earn his way onto the team.

A rough and tumble post player, Young proved to be extremely durable in college, as he never missed a game in four seasons.

As a senior, he averaged 11 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks on his way to being named the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year and helping the Gators to the Final Four.

His future appeared bright.

He worked out for 13 teams leading up to the draft. But no one called on draft night.

"I had great confidence that I was going to get my name called anywhere from late first to early second," Young said. "My agent was expecting to hear the same. But my phone just didn't ring."

Less than 12 hours later the Pelicans called, offering an opportunity to play in the summer league and attaching some guaranteed money along with the offer.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons also called. Young had a decision to make.

"My agent just said this is the best deal for me," said Young, who has a 7-foot-1 wingspan. "I had the opportunity to get some guaranteed money going into training camp. And they really, really wanted me. Like I said earlier, it wasn't just an opportunity that fell into the hands, they wanted me but just weren't able to grab me on draft night."

While Young is an agile and explosive athlete, he is widely viewed as a raw offensive player.

But his toughness in the middle can't be overlooked and likely is what will give him the best opportunity to stick around.

At the moment, the Pelicans already have a handful of post players. Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Alexis Ajinca and Jeff Withey are all under contract. They Pelicans also have worked out a trade to bring in Houston Rockets center Omer Asik.

Still after the way the Pelicans often were pushed around in the middle last season, some added muscle shouldn't hurt.

"They see me as a little Ben Wallace," Young said referring to the former Detroit Pistons NBA Defensive MVP and perennial rebounding champ. "And I'm happy with that, playing that role. It's a good feeling, feeling as though I'm wanted."

Gates said this summer will be pivotal for Young, who likely will play behind Withey in summer league and also could play alongside the second-year center if the Pelicans decide to use a big lineup.

"(Young is) a guy that is playing with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder because he didn't get drafted," Gates said. "I know that he was in the conversation. From a coaching standpoint you always love that guy who wants to get in there and set screens and rebound and play around the rim.

"He should have goals for himself like 'I am going to lead the summer league in rebounding.' Both him and Jeff (should try to lead the summer league in rebounding). That should be it. Jeff should be looking at All-Tournament team. This is (Withey's) second summer league; he's been here for a full year. I think Patric's in that same boat. He should be trying to prove to people that 29 other teams made a mistake by not drafting him."

Indeed, Young admitted to being disappointed on draft night. He said he wondered why so many teams passed on him after being a three-year starter and winning 120 games and three SEC titles.

"I have to have the mindset the 29 teams passed up on me," he said. "I believe in myself that I can contribute to any team in the country. I'm not saying that I can come in and score 'X' amount of points, but I think I definitely can be a guy that can be reliable and come in and play defense and rebound. I have to have that chip on my shoulder that I was an undrafted guy that deserved to be (drafted). I have to be the most aggressive, angry guy out there, especially starting with summer league."
Posted by: K@libug@n (16536) on 14-07-08 19:19:13

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