Duke basketball center shows incredible improvement, turnaround in win

Duke basketball forwards Ryan Young and Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forwards Ryan Young and Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball backup center Ryan Young was impressive against Michigan State. 

Everyone can agree that Duke basketball backup center Ryan Young did not have his best game when the Blue Devils lost to Arizona last Friday night.

The frontcourt of the Wildcats was just too big and athletic for the Northwestern transfer and head coach Tommy Lloyd had the perfect game plan for the 6-foot-10 forward, which Jon Scheyer could not adjust to.

Arizona never respected the offensive game of Young and basically allowed Duke to play 4-on-5 as he just floated out on the perimeter and tried to set screens.

Tuesday night against Michigan State was completely different — and perhaps Ryan Young’s best game in a Duke uniform as he went for eight points, seven rebound, and two assists in the 74-65 victory.

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Young also had a +/- rating of +24, by far the highest on the team. Only Tyrese Proctor, who played just over 38 minutes, was the only other Blue Devils with a rating in double figures.

It looked like Young was much more comfortable against the Spartans, which he competed against several times throughout his career at Northwestern. It was his first game against the Big Ten opponent as a member of the Blue Devils.

Duke basketball must utilize the smarts of veteran center in unique ways

Ryan Young was scoreless against Arizona and the Blue Devils were outscored by eight points when he was on the floor. It is the version of him that fans saw on Tuesday night that Duke is going to need going forward.

Opponents aren’t going to game plan to stop him and that’s what he needs to take advantage of with high-IQ plays.

His leadership is unquestioned on this team as all of the freshmen look to him — both on and off the court — and one of the main reasons why he was voted as a team captain.

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Jon Scheyer has said that Young doesn’t care about playing or his stats, all he cares about is winning basketball games and Duke is going to need him to continue to play at a high level to keep its winning ways going.

The Blue Devils will play three games at Cameron Indoor Stadium before traveling to Arkansas for the inaugural ACC vs. SEC Challenge on November 29.

Next. Duke realizes new philosophy in victory over Michigan State. dark