The comparisons to Trae Young and Baker Mayfield stop after talking about their chases for being named the best players in their respective sports…kind of.
Mayfield, who calls Austin, Texas home, grew up a fan of the school everyone else around him had a deep, generational hate for. Young, who calls Norman, Okla. home, also grew up a fan of the school everyone else around him had a deep, generational hate for. One ended up playing for the school they grew up a fan of. The other? Ended up staying home.
“I grew up the biggest Texas fan. I grew up wanting to go to Texas,” Young said after practice yesterday. “So, I know all about their history and stuff like that…”
Although he calls Norman home, Young’s roots are back in Texas. It has been well documented that he was born during his father’s junior season at Texas Tech, but then he lived in the state of Texas until he moved to Oklahoma at a young age. Young’s dad grew up in Pampa, Texas, and most of his family is from the state. Just like a kid growing up in Oklahoma with a passion and joy for the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, it was Young’s for Texas.
“A lot of my family is from Texas, stuff like that,” he said about his ties to growing up a fan of the Longhorns. “When you grow up in Texas and around that Texas, you want to go to the biggest Texas schools, and UT was that so that was the reason why.
“They had some really good players whenever I was kid watching it. (They had) a guy named AJ Abrams who wore a sleeve, who was my favorite player–I used to wear a sleeve playing because of him. D.J. Augustin was someone I looked up to a lot, too.”
Unlike Mayfield, Young had the chance to go play for the blue bloods of college basketball. There was no need to walk-on at a different university, and then leave and walk-on at Texas. The Longhorns were actually one of Young’s many offers out of high school, but he knew plenty of time in advance of his decision that he would not be donning the burnt orange.
“Probably at the USA (camp),” Young said about when he made the decision to not go to Texas, which took place in the summer of 2016 (he announced his decision the Feb. of 2017). “Probably at the USA (camp) when I got back.”
If growing up a Texas fan did not put a twist on Saturday’s game enough, one of his closest friends from his prep basketball days will be lining up across from him. Young and Mo Bamba roomed with each other during the Nike camps early in their high school careers. Bamba has become one with college basketball this season due to his plus-athletic ability and 7-foot-9 wingspan, and his relationship with Young continues to this day.
“I mean, it’s going to be fun–we’re both competitive. So it’s going to be a fun, competitive matchup,” he said. “Mo, he’s been one of my best friends throughout the AAU circuits and stuff like that, up there with even Michael (Porter).”
Young knows where he is at and how much more OU-Texas means to his fanbase than Bedlam or any other game. When the star Oklahoma freshman takes the court in Austin, his prior relationship with Bamba and fandom of Texas will be left behind.
“Me and Mo are really close. So I mean, it’s going to be a fun competitive battle…but he plays for Texas and I play for Oklahoma, so we’re not going to like each other for 40 minutes.”