The roar was deafening at Norman (Okla.) North High School. Yea, this doesn’t feel like just another basketball commitment.
Five-star point guard Trae Young made a lot of people happy in deciding to stay home by announcing his commitment to Oklahoma on Thursday afternoon.
Young, ranked No. 21 in the Scout 100 and only the ninth McDonald's All-American from the state, ultimately picked OU over Kansas. As improbable as that seems when it comes to basketball, and as hard as it was for OU fans to believe in the last few weeks, Young is indeed staying home.
OU coach Lon Kruger took a calculated gamble, and it paid off. There was no backup plan if Young picked the Jayhawks. There would have been one eventually, but OU had thrown all its chips in the center and went all-in with Young.
It’s that type of determination that probably helped the Sooners win the battle against the best of the best. When Duke, Kentucky, Kansas come around, the blue bloods of college basketball, it’s a resignation feeling for OU fans.
The last time the state produced such top talents as Young was back with Daniel Orton (Kentucky) and Xavier Henry (Kansas). The top stars rarely stay home.
But Young is.
Young solidifies OU’s class, which was already quality heading into Thursday. The Sooners have locked up post player Hannes Polla from Finland, and Harrah’s Brady Manek is ranked No. 96 in the Scout 100 as someone who can stretch the floor from the power forward position.
With Young in the fold, it will really open the floor up for the Sooners next season. The key, when you look at OU’s roster, is how adding Young only helps. He doesn’t butt heads with anybody that’s already on the roster.
Young running the show means more open looks for Kameron McGusty. Young already has a great relationship with Kristian Doolittle from their time in summer leagues and playing against each other in high school.
Young will bring a different dynamic to the point guard spot that hasn’t been seen in Norman for quite some time. You won’t find as many steady hands as Jordan Woodard had been for OU the last four seasons, but Young is a playmaker and someone who can score.
It’s an unofficial passing of the torch from one great Oklahoma high school player in Woodard to another in Young in terms of running the show for Kruger and the Sooners.
When it came down to it, was a comfort thing for Young. He has always felt that comfort level with Kruger, assistant coach Chris Crutchfield and OU. Felt it when he was a freshman, and it never went away the last four years.
Young cannot sign with OU until April 12, and by the beginning of June, be ready for the keys to officially be given to Young to drive this team going forward.
Averaging more than 40 points this season, Young set his career high with 62 points last week and will play his first game as an OU commit Friday evening against rival Norman.
Sooners Illustrated was there for the 62-point game last week and will be on hand once again for the Timberwolves and Tigers.