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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: If you’re not on the Trae Young Train, it’s time to hop on board

Oklahoma will always be a football school, but the basketball team deserves your attention.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for you to watch Trae Young if you haven’t been doing so. With each game this 19-year-old phenom plays he gains experience, refines his skill and dazzles his audience. At this point, Young has not only made the Oklahoma Sooners relevant in college basketball discussions, he has transformed the Oklahoma men’s basketball team into a legitimate force to be reckoned with. If you like seeing things you’ve never seen before, but you’re not watching Trae Young on the court at every opportunity, you’re absolutely missing out.

So what kind of statistical production are we looking at with Young? After 16 games, Young is averaging 30.1 points per game and 9.9 assists. Not only has Young been a walking double-double, he leads all of Division I in both scoring and assists. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the guys that he’s immediately ahead of on those lists are mostly juniors and seniors, while Young is a only true freshman.

And in case you missed it, or if you just want to see it again, check out these court-level highlights of yesterday’s big win over TCU provided by SoonerScoop:

Sure, making 10 three-pointers in a single game is insane, but that’s not the only special part of Trae Young’s game. Young elevates the players around him through his playmaking ability. The reason opponents have such a difficult time defending him is because of the variety in his game. If he’s not pulling up from 30’ to knock down a step-back three, he’s blowing past whoever is guarding him. From there, he can either go with a floater in the lane, drive to the basket and lay it up while absorbing contact, or dish it out to an open man in the corner or on the wing. Trae is flat-out remarkable.

Oh, and he’s clutch, too:

As a result of his mesmerizing performances, Young’s draft stock has skyrocketed, which means his days in Norman are numbered. After yesterday’s thrilling overtime win over the Horned Frogs, Young only has six games left to play at Lloyd Noble Center. It’s highly probable that he will elect to strike while the iron is hot, forgoing the remaining years of his collegiate eligibility to begin his professional career. With the kind of money Young stands to make as a potential top-10 pick, the decision to go pro should be an easy one.

Another reason Sooner Nation should savor the Trae Young Show is because Trae simply loves Norman. He was raised in this community, and it only seems right to show support for a local kid who has quickly risen to superstar status. Not only has he made this meteoric ascension as an individual, he’s lifted the team and the university into basketball relevance along the way. Young is clearly the runaway favorite for player of the year honors, and he’s only going to get better.

Growing up in the state of Oklahoma, I realize there’s nothing that gets me — and the rest of y’all — more excited than OU football. There’s a reason football is the flagship sport at the University of Oklahoma. Championships, awards, tradition, the list goes on and on. That said, if Trae Young isn’t enough to persuade you, there are plenty of other reasons why you should keep up with Sooner basketball. School pride, exciting games, and the potential to be a part of the next big-time power in college basketball.

On top of all of that, this team plays an exciting brand of basketball. Long gone are the days of OU hoops games that ended with 100 combined points — the Sooners are scoring 100 by themselves nowadays. Lon Kruger isn’t one to hold his players back, and that is perhaps one of the biggest keys to this team’s success and appeal. The pace is fast and the light is always green, and the end result is high-quality entertainment.

It’s not like Trae Young is the only guy out there. He obviously makes things go, but his supporting cast has been solid at times and just downright impressive in some instances. Fellow Okie freshman Brady Manek is a three-point machine. Swingman Christian James is a tireless worker who would be a star at a lot of high-major programs. Khadeem Lattin is one of the most energetic players in the country, and his backup at center — Jamuni McNeace — is downright electric.

So for all of the fans that are only invested in what the Sooners do on the football field — you absolutely need to start extending your support and attention to this basketball team. The entire program is stronger when its fan base is committed. Expand your fandom and follow Oklahoma basketball. You won’t regret it. AT ALL.

At the end of the day, what this all boils down to is that Trae Young is doing things no other player has ever done in Oklahoma history. Could this be the year the Sooners finally win a national championship in basketball? That’s an awfully tall order, but Trae Young certainly has what it takes to make it happen. Regardless of the end result, you’re going to enjoy the ride.

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