When your name is being mentioned alongside the likes of two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry in regards to your profound proficiency at point guard, you’re doing something right.
That’s the exact situation Oklahoma’s Trae Young finds himself in throughout the early portion of his collegiate career.
A former 5-star floor general, Young has quite quickly taken the nation by storm behind a barrage of bombs from the perimeter and enough dimes to jam-pack a piggy bank. 11 games into what’s widely expected to be his lone season in Norman, Young leads the nation in scoring (28.7 ppg) and assists (10.4 apg); an overall effort headlined by a 43-point explosion in a November win over Oregon and a 26-point, 22-assist display in a win over Northwestern State just days ago on Dec. 19.
Such performances have prompted plenty of praise for Oklahoma’s budding star and among the highest yet came from the mouth of a coach that coveted Young’s services and will soon be tasked with slowing the Sooners sharpshooter — Kansas coach Bill Self.
“We had Durant and Blake Griffin and Michael Beasley, those were the three best players in the country back-to-back-to-back,” Self said on Andy Katz’s Podcast this week, via ZagsBlog.
“And we’ve had Buddy Hield’s been the National Player of the Year, Frank Mason’s been the National Player of the Year, the last two years. And certainly Trae’s put himself in a position, he’s going to be a first-team All-American,” Self added. “He may be National Player of the Year.
Thus far, for reasons such as the aforementioned stat line and the the fact that Young has led Oklahoma to a 10-1 record and No. 12 ranking, the flashy freshman has certainly placed himself as a frontrunner for the National Player of the Year.
If Young can ultimately reach that feat, he’d become the third straight Big 12 talent to be honored as the National Player of the Year, and the fifth since Kevin Durant was crowned in 2007. But to do so, Young will soon be tasked with guiding Oklahoma throughout the gauntlet that is the Big 12 slate as part of a conference that’s arguably the most competitive in the country.
When that time comes, Self, who will first see Young on the hardwood on Jan. 23 2018, envisions the Norman native placing himself among some prestigious company.
“And maybe numbers drop a little bit once they get into the league, but everybody’s does across the country,” Self said. “But he’s going to be a guy that’s putting up Durant, Beasley, [Wayman] Tisdale, he’s putting up those type of numbers and has a chance to sustain that, which is incredible, considering he’s 6-1, 6-2 guard. He’s been pretty remarkable so far.”
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