Duke basketball leaning on veteran presence for leadership

Duke basketball center Ryan Young (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Ryan Young (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team has an inspiring and unassuming leader on its roster. 

Ryan Young, the backup Duke basketball center, probably never thought he would host a podcast, especially not a Blue Devil podcast.

Beyond his role as the defacto emcee of the famous Brotherhood Podcast, Ryan Young is a humble, personable, and mature athlete whose journey to Duke has added a new dimension to the team.

Young’s journey was a blessing in disguise for the Blue Devils after he arrived in Durham via the transfer portal, he was eligible to play immediately and made a significant impact on and off the court for the young Duke squad.

The 6-foot-10 forward started numerous games at the center spot, filling in admirably for Dereck Lively II, who battled a leg injury for most of the season. He was remarkably productive and influential in the locker room while on the court.

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Securing him from Northwestern might have been relatively easy, thanks partly to the assistance of former Duke guard and Northwestern head coach Chris Collins.

Interestingly, it marked the second consecutive year that Duke successfully recruited a player from the transfer portal with previous ties to the program after Theo John, who played under former Marquette head coach and Duke icon Steve Wojciechowski, joined the program.

Duke basketball ready for leader to take the next step

In his debut season at Duke, Ryan Young’s presence and experience proved invaluable to a team heavily reliant on four freshman players, including Dereck Lively and Dariq Whitehead who grappled with injuries throughout the season.

Young injected a sense of composure and maturity onto the court, and his leadership resonated throughout the Duke ranks as he generously shared his knowledge with the younger players, yielding significant dividends.

His adeptness in handling high-pressure situations and making astute decisions on the court played a pivotal role in Duke’s late-season surge, culminating in their victory in the ACC tournament.

As the new season approaches, Ryan Young faces an even more significant challenge.

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Duke needs a traditional center or defensive anchor, placing Young in the spotlight. While he may not be known as a defensive juggernaut, he must step up and give his all on the defensive end.

The team will likely adopt a center-by-committee approach, relying on players like preseason All-American Kyle Filipowski, who is expected to start at the center position, and sophomore Christian Reeves.

While Ryan Young’s contributions on the basketball court are undoubtedly significant, his influence and reach extend far beyond the confines of the hardwood.

As the host of the Brotherhood Podcast, he provides fans with a unique and intimate window into the Duke basketball program, offering a perspective beyond the game itself.

Through his engaging and insightful interviews with current and former players and coaches, Young demonstrates a remarkable versatility that goes hand in hand with his naturally smooth and laid-back personality.

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