Trae Young makes decision to move on

LUBBOCK, TX - FEBRUARY 13: Trae Young /

In what comes as a surprise to virtually no one, Trae Young has played his last game in an Oklahoma basketball uniform.

College basketball’s scoring and assist leader this season announced on Tuesday that he is declaring for the NBA Draft after completing  one of the most prolific and talked about freshman seasons in recent memory.

Related Story: Is there a chance Trae Young could elect to stay another year?

The 6-foot, 2-inch point guard who grew up in the shadow of the University of Oklahoma, just a few miles away the Lloyd Noble Center, where the Sooners play basketball, will end his one season of college basketball as the only NCAA Division I player to lead the country in both scoring and assists in the 35 seasons that assists have been recognized as an official stat.

Named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-American by both Sports Illustrated and the Basketball Writers Association of America, Young thrilled fans and frustrated defenses in putting together the greatest freshman season in Sooner basketball history. He averaged a nation-best 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game.

Young, who says he was recruited by head coach Lon Kruger and the Sooners since he was in ninth grade scored 40 or more points in four games this season, 30 or more eight times and reached the 20-point level in 25 of his 32 games as a Sooner. He scored a career- and season-high 48 points in an overtime loss at Oklahoma State.

At one point in the season, he scored 25 or more points in 14 consecutive games.

In a press release issued by the OU athletic department, Young said:

"“I’ll never regret a moment I spent at the University of Oklahoma, or my decision to stay home and become a Sooner for life.”"

The Sooner Superman, as he came to be called, said he trusted head coach Kruger from the beginning. “As much as anything, Coach Kruger taught me about poise, about handling pressure and difficult circumstances with calm and clear-mindedness.”

Young’s production tailed off a bit over the second half of the season as opponents put more pressure on him when he was handling the ball and denied him many open-shot opportunities. Nevertheless, he still managed to put up better than 20 points a game and led the Sooners in scoring in practically every game he played.

Even though Oklahoma stumbled badly over the second half of the season, it was still an exciting season in which the Sooners defeated six top-25 teams and four teams that were ranked in the top 10 at the time the game was played. It is pretty clear that wouldn’t have happened without Trae Young.

The five-star recruit from nearby Norman North High School lived up to, and even exceeded, all of the expectations that preceded his signing to stay home and play at Oklahoma. He will be sorely missed, but the memories he leaves behind will remain forever.

Most NBA Draft experts have Young going among the top-10 selections in this year’s draft.