Players Like These Are The Back Bones Of A Team And Coaches Love Them Too And They Deserve Special Recognition: Man Hails Duke Star

There should be an award, similar to Best Supporting Actor at the Emmys or Oscars, for basketball players who focus solely on activities that support their teammates’ efforts. They frequently do this without receiving any recognition; only professional coaches, evaluators, and teammates pay attention to what they do.

One may argue that this award should go to someone who has a high percentage of turnover assists, is a constant ball valuer, and is a consistent creator of opportunities for others. We wouldn’t object, but being regularly entrusted with the ball provides a player with additional opportunities and visibility.

But when it comes to truly helpful work, when elbows fly, skin is torn by fingernails, and bruises and the occasional broken bone are dispensed, nothing tops the housekeepers who clean up on the boards. They make sacrifices in order to take advantage of possibilities that present themselves.

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Javin DeLaurier of Duke was an excellent example (430 career rebounds, 386 points).

As a senior in 2020, DeLaurier was one of seven ACC players with more rebounds than points. So far this season, ten league players suit that description and have already played at least 250 minutes, or around 10 per game. Eight teams benefit from such contributions, with Notre Dame and Pitt each receiving two specialized rebounders.

Ryan Young, a Duke graduate student who formerly attended Northwestern, is a prominent member of the ACC’s helpful rebounding corps. He, like Georgia Tech’s Tyzhaun Claude and Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Long, has contributed his weight (235 pounds) to pushing the wheel uphill for his chosen squad.

Ryan Young - 2023-24 - Men's Basketball - Duke University

Young, whose parents both played Olympic sports at Syracuse, is an effective frontcourt replacement for Duke’s more athletic big guys. Young, a vocal team captain, has started less games than the other two members of the three, Claude and Long, with two in 24 appearances in 2023-24.

As expected, the 6-10 big player averages 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 points each game. His turnovers are approximately equal to his assists. He has attempted just one 3-pointer in two seasons and 59 games at Durham. Young’s contributions, which are the result of intelligence and experience, as well as the seasoned application of muscle, are rarely spectacular and often go unnoticed on a stat sheet, despite their importance to his club.


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