Men’s Basketball: Ryan Young picks up 16 points, shows growth in second career game for NU


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Redshirt freshman Ryan Young takes a shot. The center trained with former bigs Barret Benson and Dererk Pardon in his redshirt season.

Grayson Welo, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

Redshirt freshman Ryan Young is back in action.

After an unexpected upset loss to Merrimack on Nov. 8, Northwestern bounced back with a 72-63 win over Providence on Wednesday. And while several members of the Wildcats performed well, the 6-foot-10 Young stood out on the court — and not just because of his height.

Even though it was only his second career appearance for NU (1-1), the center led the Cats in scoring with 16 points against the Friars (2-1), improving immensely from the game against the Warriors last week, where he only scored five points and was a non-factor.

During his redshirt season last year, Young spent his time training alongside former big men Barret Benson and Dererk Pardon.

Coach Chris Collins said Young’s redshirt year helped the center grow as a basketball player and the strides he’s made were evident on the court Wednesday.

“He was awesome. I’m so proud of him,” Collins said. “Here’s the guy last year that just got his head kicked in by Dererk Pardon. Derek practiced as hard as he played in games, so that kid had to show up every night play against DP. What that does is it gets you tougher and it gets you better.”

Collins added that he never doubted Young’s playing ability, but that the redshirt year allowed him to “invest” in the center. Now, the coach said he expects Young to become a really good player.

Although Young already waited a year for his turn to stand under the spotlight, he still attributes his scoring chances to his teammates.

“A lot of my buckets weren’t created by myself,” Young said. “There were a lot of my buckets (that came from) Anthony (Gaines) and Pat Spencer getting in the lane and dishing it to me. I can’t give enough credit to my teammates for penetrating the zone in the second half and dishing it up to me.”

Reflecting on his improvement, Young credited Pardon and Benson for not only helping him on the court but also off the floor. Since joining the Cats, he has gained 20 pounds and focused much of the last year on becoming a tougher, more physical player.

According to Young, Pardon’s work ethic has rubbed off on him, and he is grateful for his mentorship.

“Watching a player like that play, and playing a player like that in practice every day, you can’t take any minutes off,” Young said. “That was a real wake up call for me. Seeing him play like that was eye-opening, and it was something I could strive to do myself.”

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