Although the Oklahoma Sooners (16-10, 6-8 Big 12) have gone into the tank as of late losing five straight games and eight of their last 10, you can’t count them out when it comes to the Big Dance. My reasoning — enter freshman phenom point guard, Trae Young. Truly a ‘Young’ pup at the ripe age of 19, this kid can ball out.
Trae is being compared to the likes of Golden State Warriors superstar guard, Stephen Curry. It’s simply not fair to compare Mr. Young to arguably the best player in the NBA, if not the entire galaxy. I’ve always been a proponent of not comparing athletes to one another. Trae is Trae. . . And that’s incredibly exciting for college hoops right now.
With March Madness looming right around the corner, Young is a one-man difference maker. He’s not one with the orange like Steph just yet, but he’s pretty darn close. At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, No. 11 is lighting up the Sooners’ stat sheet with 29.1 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, and 9.3 assists per game. Does that do anything for ya? Well, it should! With powers comparable to Wonder Boy, he’s just short of averaging a 30-point, 10-assist game per night. And this dude is a freshman!
Led by head coach Lon Kruger, OU may get a much lower seeding than hoped for come Dance time, but they’ll still be a dangerous out. I’ve always said that the NCAA Tourney is predicated on guard play, and the Sooners certainly have a great one in Mr. Young. Trae’s a crafty player — he can put it on the deck on the way to the rim, he has pure passing ability, and he can flat stroke the rock. The definition of a triple threat baller. Drive, dish, drill it!
His shooting range is limitless with range for days from the land of plenty. Yes, Trae can bury the trey from anywhere on the floor.
That being said, the bad news right now is Trae’s recent slump making shots. Even worse, he’s turning the ball over at an alarming rate. As the Sooners’ primary ball handler and scorer at the point, that’s central to the struggles of the Crimson and Cream — but let’s not panic. How about a Sports Psychology 101 course for Mr. Young? Give Trae the resources to get out of his own head, and we’ll all be able to sit back and watch greatness.
But it’s not only about the organ between his ears, it’s about the way he’s being guarded as the season has progressed. In his own words after a Sooner loss to the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Young provided more insight into his recent challenges.
“I’m getting guarded like nobody else in the country is being guarded, scouted on like no one else in the country. . .”
He continued on, “. . . It’s a mystery coming out each and every game to try and figure out how a team is going to guard me and how I’m going to dictate how my team wins. It’s a lot tougher for me to score now than it was in the beginning. . . It’s a process. Right now, it’s tough.”
So, getting out of his funk as well as making adjustments based on how he’s being defended will be key for Trae and Oklahoma moving forward before the Tourney. Don’t think for a minute that he won’t recover. He can and will. And all of America will be watching, wondering if the Sooner-led Trae Young can propel OU in a march towards San Antonio and the Final Four.