For the first part of the 2017-18 college basketball season, there wasn’t a better player in the country — or a more highly covered story — than Oklahoma’s Trae Young.
The freshman phenom dominated the court and sports pages with his torrid start to the season, putting up ridiculous statlines like his 26-point, 22-assist performance against Northwestern State and his 43-point game against Oregon. Although the Sooners fell off near the end of the season after being ranked No. 4 in the country, Young continued to have highlight-reel performances. He finished the year as the first player in Division I history to lead the country in both points and assists.
Despite Oklahoma’s struggles at the end of the season, and despite the backlash that came at Young after all of the focus on him in the early part of the year, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander argues that the freshman’s incredible season will be one of the main things we remember from the year that was.
“Young was wrongly blamed for a lot of the Sooners’ issues,” Norlander wrote. “In reality, his teammates could not create offense. This team would not have made the NIT were Young not on the roster. He was adored early and abhorred late. In reality, his game deserved some criticism, but not nearly the amount it received.”
Now that he has entered the NBA draft, Young is leaving college basketball in his rearview member. But Oklahoma fans — and fans across the country — will have a hard time forgetting his terrific time with the Sooners.