Trae Young nursing an injury; that could spell trouble for Sooners

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 19: Trae Young /

Oklahoma Sooner superstar Trae Young hasn’t been all that super in the latter stages of the regular season.

As a direct result, the once highly touted men’s Oklahoma basketball program has been merely pedestrian at the most important time of the season.

In his first nine conference games, the nation’s scoring and assist leader averaged 33.7 points a game, including three games of over 40 points and one in which he scored 39. The Sooners stood at 6-3 through the first half of the conference schedule, including victories over Kansas, Texas Tech and two over TCU.

Over the next nine games against Big 12 opponents, though, Young was no longer the surprise he was earlier. Teams had figured out how to defend him. The second half of the conference season, he had just one game over 30 points and five in which he scored fewer than 20 points. He averaged just 21.1 points a game over that span, which included six consecutive Oklahoma losses.

Call it what you want, but the facts speak pretty clearly. Trae Young has not been the player in the second half of the season that he was through the first half. Better defenses against him, the fatigue of a long season and having played a lot of minutes. You can’t dismiss that those factors have had an effect on the drop off in Young’s production down the stretch.

Now we learn that the All-Big 12 Sooner point guard is nursing a hip injury suffered in OU’s blowout loss at Baylor a week ago.

Young not only missed out on the Player of the Year award in the Big 12 over the weekend Kansas’ Devonte Graham won the top award), he also missed the Sooner practice on Sunday. While his teammates went through a practice session in preparation for OU’s opening round game in the Big 12 Tournament with Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, Young observed from a trainer’s table in the corner of the gym.

“It’s really tough. I’m very competitive. I never want to sit out anything,” Young told Ryan Aber, the OU beat writer for the Oklahoma City Oklahoman.

"“I’m feeling good,” he said. “Just wanted to take precautions…I’ll be ready to play on Wednesday.”"

Young apparently landed hard on his hip after being fouled by Baylor’s Jake Lindsey in the game last Tuesday.

Next: Are the Sooners really out of the woods for an NCAA Tournament bid?

Once one game out of the conference lead, Oklahoma finished the regular season going 2-8 over their last 10 games. That earned them a four-way tie for sixth place in the Big 12 standings. The Sooners are a nine seed, however, in this week’s Big 12 Tournament as a result of tiebreakers.