Recently in this space I declared Trae Young the obvious player of the year in college basketball, and I don’t imagine I’ll be going back on that between now and March.
Young is in all likelihood going to finish at or near the top of the nation in points and assists, and with an 85-80 win over No. 5 Kansas on Tuesday night, the 12th-ranked Sooners’ already good season got a good bit better.
But the last couple of weeks have revealed some flaws and limitations in Young’s game that weren’t obvious during the non-conference season, when Young was Steph 2.0.
He is, at times, a turnover machine, and there will always be questions about the utility of some of his extra-long bombs. He finished with 26 points and nine assists against Kansas, but after taking 39 shots to score 48 points in a loss to Oklahoma State and going 8-for-21 in a loss to Kansas State, Young attempted just nine field goals against the Jayhawks.
Afterward, he said this was the way he intended to play for the rest of the season, which concerns me as a guy who wrote quite publicly that Young was certainly going to be the player of the year. Oklahoma probably won’t have the season it wants to have if Young takes nine shots per game the rest of the way, but the Sooners might also be finding out that the whole freestyle go-carts thing they’d been doing wasn’t going to hold up over 18 conference games and the NCAA Tournament.
Trae Young probably isn’t as good as Steph Curry, and he probably shouldn’t be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but he’s still the obvious player of the year, and that’s pretty good.