Patric Young returning in 2012-13

OMAHA, Neb. -- Florida center Patric Young told reporters Thursday that he intends to return for his sophomore season instead of entering the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-9, 247-pound Young has been projected as a late first-round pick by most draft analysts. He’s averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in his first season as a starter.

“That’s always great news,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “I think Patric has learned a lot this year. I don’t think this year was as easy for him as I thought it was going to be. I think a lot of times when you’re a player that’s in a role, and all of a sudden you go from a role to a primary position, your impression of what you think your role is going to be like might not match up to it.

“I think Patric ... probably realized he’s here to grow, and he’s much better today than he was a year ago. I think next year he would be even better than he is this season.”

Young has plenty of time to change his mind, however. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft is April 29.

Florida, the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, takes on No. 10 seed Virginia Friday at the CenturyLink Center.