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Ryan Young’s Importance To Duke

Who knew he would be this vital to the team?

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Duke vs Pittsburgh
Mar 9, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Ryan Young (15) and Pittsburgh Panthers guard Nike Sibande (22) fight for the ball during the first half of the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. 
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When Ryan Young transferred to Duke from Northwestern, most Duke fans didn’t know what to expect.

First, despite being coached by former Duke star and assistant coach Chris Collins, it’s not like Northwestern is on TV a lot or talked about constantly (although getting the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament twice generated a ton of coverage).

When we saw the summer scrimmage videos though, we saw a guy who was thoroughly outplaying Kyle Filipowski and Derrick Lively and that was an eye-opener because it’s not like he had a huge talent advantage. He had far less, actually, so he was outperforming them on heart and smarts.

He decided to return to Duke for his last season almost as soon as Duke exited the NCAA Tournament and he’s valuable in many ways.

This article from the News & Observer talks about his value to Duke, why Jon Scheyer & staff pursued him, and why his return is such a big deal.

He’s never going to be the most talented guy on the team, but he might have the biggest heart.