Northwestern’s Ryan Young a transfer-portal target for Georgia Tech

Former Northwestern center Ryan Young made an official visit to Georgia Tech the week of April 18, 2022. (Northwestern Athletics)

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Former Northwestern center Ryan Young made an official visit to Georgia Tech the week of April 18, 2022. (Northwestern Athletics)

Ryan Young was a backup center for Northwestern for the past three seasons. He also might be Georgia Tech’s most promising transfer-portal target.

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Young, who averaged 9.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game for the Wildcats this past season, took an official visit to Tech last week, an indication of interest in joining coach Josh Pastner’s team. Young also has had or will have visits to Georgetown, Boston College and Duke, with another visit possible to Notre Dame and/or Miami, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

While Tech returns forward Rodney Howard, Young appears to have a more developed game on offense and could be a fit for Pastner’s Princeton offense. Young, 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, has a soft touch around the basket, an array of post moves and can drive from the wing. He shot 55.9% from the field last season, highest on the team among rotation players.

Pastner and his staff continue to recruit the portal and add to a roster that has four open scholarships among the 13-player maximum. Tech was among the final three schools in the running for former Citadel forward Hayden Brown, but he chose South Carolina over Tech and Loyola Chicago.

Tech has had four players make official visits as transfers – Brown, Young, guard Lance Terry (Gardner-Webb) and forward Jamari Smith (Queens College). Terry committed to Tech on April 10. Tech also hosted high-school senior Fredrick King, a 6-foot-10 center from the Bahamas who signed with Louisville in November but was released from his letter of intent following the Cardinals’ coaching change.

King, who also visited Creighton, BYU and Utah, is not expected to pick Tech.

Smith is an atypical prospect. From Jonesboro High, Smith was a Division II All-American and the South Atlantic Conference player of the year at Queens (located in Charlotte, N.C.) after averaging 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. Smith, 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, shot 40.0% from 3-point range, making 1.3 3-pointers per game.

Smith visited Tech last weekend, talking with Pastner and his staff, touring the campus and playing pickup with team members. Barring changes, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that he will choose between Tech, Virginia Tech and Murray State.

“It’s a great school as far as academics and as far as the basketball aspect goes, they compete, and that’s what I like to see,” said Smith, speaking of Georgia Tech. “I don’t feel like their record reflects how good they are, how hard they play. I like that about their team. Me just playing pickup, I could tell they like to get after it. They have something good there.”

While he clearly has proved himself at the Division II level, the jump that he would make to the ACC would be drastic. Still, he conceivably could fill the frontcourt spot vacated by Khalid Moore, who is in the transfer portal.

Smith, who graduates May 7 with a degree in sports management, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. He said that he hopes to make a decision within the next two weeks.

Tech continues its recruitment of several transfer prospects. The following is a non-comprehensive list of players that Tech is pursuing.

Forwards/post players: Johni Broome (Morehead State), David Jones (DePaul), Kenneth Lofton (Louisiana Tech), Morris Udeze (Wichita State), KJ Williams (Murray State).

Guards: Dexter Dennis (Wichita State), Dae Dae Grant (Miami of Ohio), Michael Jones (Davidson) and Jaelin Llewellyn (Princeton).

With nine scholarship players (including Terry, the Gardner-Webb transfer), Tech is in need of players. Reaching the maximum 13 isn’t necessary, but it would behoove Pastner to add at least two more players.