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John E. Hoover: Decision day has arrived for Norman North’s Trae Young: OU, OSU or KU?

John E. Hoover: Decision day has arrived for Norman North’s Trae Young: OU, OSU or KU?
Norman North's Trae Young has narrowed his choices to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas. (PHOTO: Bob Przybylo, SoonersIllustrated.com)

Norman North’s Trae Young has narrowed his choices to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas. (PHOTO: Bob Przybylo, SoonersIllustrated.com)

The day is upon us.

Where has basketball phenomenon Trae Young decided to go to college?

Young announces his decision Thursday in a noon event at Norman North High School, and it basically has come down to this:

What does Young want out of his college basketball experience?

In an all-access profile in USA Today, Young makes it clear — very, very clear; like, all the pressure in the world is on him to make it happen — that he wants to play in the NBA.

So, how does he get there?

The revealing piece (you can read it here) depicts a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of each school, and makes it also clear that the idea of being a one-and-done — that is, one year in college and then off to the league — is quite appealing to Young.

From a list that included Washington, Kentucky and Texas Tech, Young, his mother Candice and his father Ray boil down the decision to three: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Young likes the one-and-done nature of so many Kentucky players, but senses a stigma against anyone who sticks around Lexington more than one season and is turned off by UK’s dorm life.

Washington is compelling because he’d get to play with close friend Michael Porter. But Porter is the No. 1 player in the country, and is sure to be a one-and-done. If Young stays in school, he’d likely be alone and isolated in Seattle.

Young doesn’t seem impressed by the talent or the tempo at Texas Tech, which is where his dad played and remains a sentimental favorite.

OU’s pull is strong: Lon Kruger’s ability to develop players (Young cites Buddy Hield’s development from a 3-points-per-game scorer as a freshman to a national player of the year as a senior) and his long relationship with Kruger (Kruger has been recruiting him since Young was an eighth grader). At OU, Young would be an immediate starter and probably an All-Big 12 candidate, maybe more.

Young likes what Brad Underwood has done with Juwan Evans, though his dad has reservations about Evans’ role and his mom noted the program fell so far under Travis Ford. Jumping in right behind Evans (who’s expected to leave for the NBA this year) creates another immediate opportunity for Young.

And as for Kansas, everyone seems to be in agreement that Bill Self rules the roost, that Self and KU have nurtured Frank Mason into a player of the year frontrunner, and that the Jayhawks always have an impressive array of “blue blood” talent. Putting point guards in the NBA, however, is not Self’s strength, Young says.

His parents sound supportive either way. And they’ve all narrowed it down to three schools at which they can continue to drive a short distance (some much shorter than others) to watch their son play.

But what does Young want? It’s his decision. And he’ll tell the rest of us Thursday at noon.


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard on The Franchise Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. every weekday with co-host Lauren Rew and most mornings on The Franchise in Oklahoma City. Listen on fm107.9, am1270 on the 107.7 Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page.

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Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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