Five-star Norman North point guard Trae Young is a near-obsession for every OU basketball fan these days. His decision is likely to come soon, and the Sooners are reportedly battling only the Kansas Jayhawks for his services. Many felt confident OU was winning.
That is, until Saturday.
In a since-deleted tweet, Young’s father Ray tweeted his reaction to a Clay Horning game recap in the Norman Transcript titled “Timberwolves going nowhere playing like this.”
Ray Young quoted the link to the Transcript story and said, “Time to be honest OU fans, these two writers will be the reason my son can’t go to school here. Its been 4 years of this.”
What’s worse, Trae himself retweeted his dad soon after.
Presumably the two writers Ray Young refers to are Horning and John McKelvey, also of the Transcript. Apparently their Timberwolves coverage has been less-than-generous during Young’s high school career, and after a read through the story, I have to say—Ray Young has a point.
Young played brilliantly, as usual, netting 44 points in North’s 80-77 loss to Stillwater. But Horning’s article asserts that Stillwater was more “interested” than the Timberwolves. It criticizes Young for taking 9 deep threes “from the parking lot,” and for fouling out when his team needed him most.
And you know what? He’s probably right. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see the game, and there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for Norman North to be losing to a team like Stillwater. But Horning’s article is a good deal more critical than the vast majority I’ve ever read about high school athletics, and I can certainly see how the Young family might get tired of such scrutiny. Fairly or not, most high school kids don’t have to deal with articles like that. Horning writes almost as though he’s covering the Sooners—or the Thunder—and not a bunch of 17-year-olds.
But of course, if media scrutiny is Young’s deciding factor, he should come play for OU. The spotlight on Jayhawks basketball is ten times brighter than the one down here, and Young’s game will be picked apart from the instant he steps on campus. If Young comes to OU, he’s just not going to hear that much criticism. The fans will just be glad he’s here.
I understand the emotion behind Young’s tweet. But if he thinks that going to Kansas will get him away from critical media, he’s sorely mistaken. I think Young understands that at the end of the day. Young may yet go to Kansas—his father has long been rumored to favor a traditional power, while his mother would prefer him at home—but if he does, it won’t be because of Clay Horning.
In Lawrence, articles like that may be too numerous to retweet them all.