Five-star point guard Trae Young sat next to his family on Thursday afternoon inside of a crowded auditorium inside at Norman North High School. With all the eyes on him, Young plopped a crimson OU hat on his head as the entire room – and Sooner fans everywhere – erupted with cheers.
Related: Norman North's Trae Young Picks OU Over KU & OSU
“This is just home, this has always been home to me,” Young said about his decision to commit to Oklahoma. “I’ve built relationships with a lot of coaches throughout the years, this recruiting process has been very long, very tough, like I said I’ve built a lot of trust with all these coaches, this is home.”
I snapped this photo moments before Trae Young chose OU. Jam packed. My apologies to the young lady in front who was moving during the pano. pic.twitter.com/iMAslwKBpv— Lee Benson (@LeeBensonNews9) February 16, 2017
I snapped this photo moments before Trae Young chose OU. Jam packed. My apologies to the young lady in front who was moving during the pano. pic.twitter.com/iMAslwKBpv
It isn’t every day the state of Oklahoma produces one of the top high school recruits in the country, and it isn’t every day that recruit decides to stay put.
J.R. Giddens, Xavier Henry, Daniel Orton. All three were heralded five-star recruits, and all three spurned the in-state schools like OU and OSU for greener pastures at blueblood schools such as Kansas and Kentucky.
But Young chose a similar path to Blake Griffin, who stayed in-state to lead the Sooners to an Elite Eight appearance in 2009.
“I feel like later on today or tomorrow I’ll really realize how much it meant for me to stay in the city and play for my school,” Young said.
Considering circumstances & KU BB greatness, remarkable recruiting effort by @LonKruger & @OU_MBBall. Espec 4 KSU alum. @TheTraeYoung @NEWS9— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) February 16, 2017
Considering circumstances & KU BB greatness, remarkable recruiting effort by @LonKruger & @OU_MBBall. Espec 4 KSU alum. @TheTraeYoung @NEWS9
As one of the best scorers in Oklahoma high school basketball history, Young has a lot of expectations heading into his OU career. As the highest-rated recruit of the Kruger era, many believe Young will immediately upgrade the program the second he steps foot on campus.
“I try to take the word pressure out of my vocabulary and just say that there’s a lot on my plate,” Young said of the expectations. “There is a lot on my plate coming here but I’m willing to take the challenge.”
When it comes to his goals while at OU, it’s clear that Young is most concerned with winning.
“Winning takes care of everything,” Young stressed. “It starts with the team and my team goals help me ultimately achieve my individual goals so I’ve always been a winner growing up and I don’t see that changing at the collegiate level.”
Despite the Sooners’ 9-16 record this season following a run to the Final Four, Young let it be known that he sees a lot of potential in the Sooners.
“I feel like this team they’ve been having a lot of struggling moments throughout the season but they’ve shown a lot of good signs too. They’re very young, only losing one or two seniors this year,” Young said confidently. “With Kam McGusty and Kristian Doolittle playing like top true freshmen in the country this year, they’ve been outstanding. I can’t wait to play with those guys.”
Next season can't arrive soon enough for the OU basketball program. @TheTraeYoung #Sooners— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) February 16, 2017
Next season can't arrive soon enough for the OU basketball program. @TheTraeYoung #Sooners
In fact, Young is very confident in the capabilities of both he and his longtime friend, McGusty.
“I feel like me and Kam can be one of the best backcourts in the country next year,” Young said. “I’m looking forward to working in the backcourt with him and working with the big guys like Doolittle and Jamuni McNeace.”
Strap in, Sooner fans. It’s going to be a fun ride with Young in the drivers seat.