We’ve all expected the Oklahoma point guard and freshman phenom to make this decision, but Trae Young made it public on Tuesday when he announced his intention to enter the 2018 NBA Draft. Young leads the nation in both points and assists per game in 2017-18 (he’ll officially be the first player to do so in a season once the NCAA Tournament comes to an end) and has also broken Michael Beasley’s Big 12 single-season scoring record during his freshman campaign.
I will enter the June NBA Draft!!— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) March 20, 2018
The time has come, and this journey was not easy... But I'm ready!! But there's so many people who helped me along the way https://t.co/mPAuOST4lo— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) March 20, 2018
A native of Norman and a graduate of Norman North High School, the former five-star point was recruited heavily by the blue-bloods of college basketball. However, Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lon Kruger was able to sell the McDonald’s All-American on the prospect of running the show and having a certain level of autonomy. When combining that pitch with the appeal of potentially becoming a hometown hero, Oklahoma’s case seemed pretty strong. In the end, that won out over the prospect of playing for a powerhouse — Kansas, Kentucky and many others — or his father’s school, Texas Tech.
Young went on to have a freshman season that surpassed the lofty expectations that had already been placed on his shoulders. He dazzled a national audience during the PK80 Invitational in November, led his team to incredible victory at No. 3 Wichita State and dished out an NCAA-record-tying 22 assists against Northwestern State before conference play even began. Things would get rough for his team once the month of January began, but he continued to captivate the nation during the early stages of Big 12 play.
His team would limp into the home stretch before being gifted a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they would ultimately fall to the Rhode Island Rams in overtime. The team ended the season losing 12 of its final 16 games and looked downright awful for the majority of that stretch. Young certainly shoulders a piece of the blame, although there’s certainly more than enough to go around from top to bottom. A season that began with so much promise fizzled out in front of our eyes, and that’s a tough thing with which to cope. It’s a shame that things had to end this way, but I’m glad he chose to come to OU. Things won’t be easy for him at the next level, but I’m confident that he’ll eventually find some level of success in the NBA. He’ll always have a cheering section in the Sooner State (provided that his team isn’t playing the Thunder on that particular night) and we wish him the best of luck.
Where does OU go from here? Well, we’ll dive into that later, but OU is currently in the grad transfer market for next season. If that plays out in a favorable manner, this team may actually resenble something respectable in 2018-19, but we’ll have to wait and see.