Is Trae Young’s Sooner hoops career a one-year journey?


Sooner basketball fans are not all that surprised that super-star freshman Trae Young is setting the college hardwood ablaze this season.

For the rest of the country, however, the Oklahoma point guard has staked a national claim as one of the biggest surprises of the college basketball season.

Rated with five stars and 23rd in the ESPN 100 coming out of high school, it was clear that the local talent out of nearby Norman North High School was far more than your average recruit and one that the Sooners could not, without considerable effort, allow to get away.

A 6-foot, 2-inch point guard who averaged 46 points a game his senior season in high school, was someone who was on the national radar and could have chosen to sign on with a number of big-name college programs. Hot in the hunt for Young’s services in addition to the Sooners were Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kentucky and Texas Tech (where his father, Rayford, played in the late 1990s).

“This is home,” Young told ESPN staff writer Jake Trotter earlier this year when he announced he would be going to Oklahoma. The highly recruited OU freshman said Coach Kruger was a prime reason he decided to stay home to play his college basketball.

"“His (Kruger’s style of play fits well,” Young said. “He lets his guards play the way I want to play. He’s going to give me a lot of freedom. but also teach me the game and expand my knowledge of the game.”"

In the end, Young chose Oklahoma over Kansas, one of college basketball’s blue bloods. And the Sooners are reaping immediate and bold benefits from that decision.

Oklahoma Sooners Basketball
Oklahoma Sooners Basketball /

Oklahoma Sooners Basketball

Eight games into his first collegiate season, the local kid from Norman leads not only the Sooners but the entire country, averaging 28.8 points a game. His 8.8 assists per game is the best in the Big 12 and ranks third in the nation.

Young has led OU in scoring in all eight games this season and is the major reason the Sooners are off to a 7-1 start for the fourth time in Lon Kruger’s seven seasons as the head coach at Oklahoma. The Sooner super freshman has scored 28 or more points in six consecutive games.

As spectacularly as Young has played so far in his debut college season, it’s hard not to wonder if this could be his only college season. The way he is playing now, it would be easy to make a case for him being a potential first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, but there has been no indication that is something Young might be contemplating.

There is still a lot of the present season to be played, but you would think Kruger and Oklahoma would like to see Young stick around for more than one year. I know the Sooner fans would.

Blake Griffin, who, like Young, is an Oklahoma native, having grown up in the Oklahoma City area, and was another five-star recruit, was one of Young’s childhood idols.

As a ball boy for OU when Griffin played there, Young got to see one of his favorite players up close and personal. He also saw that Griffin elected to come back for a second season before leaving early and declaring for the NBA Draft.

It appears that Young has the talent to play at the next level, but I believe he also knows he still has things to learn and the opportunity to gain experience and improve his game. Whether that be one year or two, or perhaps even longer, is anyone’s guess right now.

In the meantime, I suggest that we sit back and enjoy what is shaping up as a much-improved season of Oklahoma basketball with Young at the point and leading the Sooner roundball attack.