Sixth Man Saves the Day: Ryan Young’s Heroics Lead Duke to Sweet 16 Victory

Ryan Young’s Heroics

The Duke Blue Devils found themselves in a familiar nightmare early in their Sweet 16 matchup against Houston. An aggressive Cougars team jumped out to an 8-0 lead, mirroring Duke’s second-round defeat to Tennessee last year. Head Coach Jon Scheyer needed a spark, and it came from a surprising source: sixth-year graduate student Ryan Young.

Ryan Young


Young, Not So Young: How Hustle Trumped Athleticism

Ryan Young, recognized for his tenacity rather than raw athleticism, emerged as an improbable savior amidst Houston’s imposing physicality. Upon his entrance into the game, he swiftly assuaged the Blue Devils’ anxiety. Before halftime, Duke not only seized the lead but also witnessed Young’s remarkable contribution, evidenced by his remarkable +12 rating in the box score. Such influence proved indispensable, particularly given Duke’s diminished bench strength owing to Caleb Foster’s injury.

Beyond the Big Three: The Power of Role Players


While stars like Jeremy Roach, Kyle Filipowski, and Tyrese Proctor delivered in crunch time, Duke wouldn’t have won without the unsung heroics of Ryan Young. He provided a much-needed paint presence, acting like a brick wall against Houston’s forwards. This freed up Filipowski to focus solely on rebounding, instead of getting tangled up in box-outs. This one-on-one matchup advantage for Filipowski significantly disrupted Houston’s offensive strategy. The Cougars rely heavily on grabbing extra possessions with offensive rebounds. By shutting down their second-chance opportunities, Young essentially choked off a vital source of their scoring and momentum. This defensive shift created a domino effect, allowing Duke to finally establish control of the game.


From Spark to Explosion: Young’s Offensive Impact


Young’s impact wasn’t limited to defense. Early in the second half, he ignited the Blue Devils with a thunderous dunk, a reminder of his veteran experience. More importantly, Young’s presence as a screener opened up Duke’s offense. With Young setting screens, Proctor and Roach could find Filipowski for easier scoring opportunities or passes. This offensive flow continued even when Young faced foul trouble, as the Blue Devils had gained confidence in their offensive execution.


Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: A Championship Formula


Young’s individual heroics were crucial, but they wouldn’t have happened without a cohesive team effort. Each player, including Young, embraced their role and executed it flawlessly. This collective effort is a  testament to Coach Scheyer’s system and a glimpse into what it takes to win a national championship, a goal that’s now just three wins away for the Blue Devils.


Trending FAQs:

What NIL partnerships do Duke players have?

The article explores various NIL partnerships Duke players have secured. Kyle Filipowski has deals with Great Clips and Dicks Sporting Goods, while Jeremy Roach promotes Raid insecticide alongside Baylor’s Darianna Littlepage-Buggs. Jared McCain leads the pack with partnerships with Champ Sports, RECOVER 180, Crocs, Celcius, Skims, American Eagle, and even a local floral shop!


Who is Ryan Young and why was his performance so important?

Ryan Young is a sixth-year graduate student known for his hustle and leadership.  Duke’s bench was thin due to injuries, and Young’s ability to contain Houston’s physicality and rebounding was a game-changer. He also provided a spark offensively, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates.


How did Young’s presence impact Duke’s offense?

Young’s ability to set effective screens opened up passing lanes for Duke’s guards. This allowed them to find Filipowski for easier scoring chances or open passes, leading to a more efficient and confident offense.


What are some of the challenges Duke faced against Houston?

Duke struggled to contain Houston’s early aggression and their dominance on the offensive glass. Young’s hustle and defensive presence were instrumental in mitigating these challenges.


How close is Duke to a national championship?

With their Sweet 16 victory, Duke is just three wins away from their ultimate goal: a national championship. Their ability to execute their roles as a team and capitalize on individual strengths will be crucial in their remaining games.




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