- Oklahoma point guard Trae Young is leading the nation and scoring and assists per game.
- Young has drawn comparisons to Stephen Curry for his infinite range and brazen style of offence.
- Curry even praised Young’s game, and it appears Young is going to rocket up draft boards.
Through 13 games, Oklahoma point guard Trae Young is putting up unseen numbers in the NCAA and becoming the toast of college basketball.
The 19-year-old freshman point guard is leading the nation in scoring with 29 points per game and assists with 10.6 per game, while also averaging nearly 4 rebounds and 2 steals while shooting 47% from the field and 40% from three. It’s working, as the Sooners are 12-1.
Stats aside, it’s his explosive and brazen play that has him being compared to Stephen Curry. Young, like Curry, has infinite range and is prone to pulling up from 35 feet off the dribble, or bending a defence to his will and kicking it to teammates for easy baskets.
As The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen wrote, Young is the first star player to grow up under the influence of Curry, much in the way today’s NBA stars were influenced by Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. Young is not shy about the comparison.
“I would record every game,” Young told Cohen of watching Curry. “I’d watch before I went to bed or the next day. I watched how he played, how the Warriors moved without the ball and how Steph got everyone involved and still created for himself. I loved watching Steph’s game.”
He added: “He was changing the game, and the way I played fit perfectly.”
Fans don’t need to squint to see the comparisons.
But Young isn’t all high-wire, pull-up threes. He has the athleticism and vision to break down defences and set up teammates.
Curry even praised Young on Wednesday, marveling at his playmaking and calling him “unbelievable.”
“Just the confidence that he plays with,” Curry said of Young. “I call it the flair, but it seems like he’s always composed and knows what he’s trying to do every time he has the ball in his hands. He shoots a lot of deep 3s and has a creativity to his game that’s just so fluid to watch.”
As The Ringer’s Mark Titus noted, among point guards to win the John Wooden Award, Young would lead all of them in scoring and assists, second in three-point field goal percentage, and third in field goal percentage. Granted, the sample size is small, but Young’s production is unlike anything college basketball has seen.
In early December, ESPN’s NBA mock draft had Young going 17th in the draft. Now it’s hard to imagine Young not ending up in the top 10.
There’s still a lot of season left to be played, but Young looks like a game-changing force who’s capturing the attention of NBA players, much in the way Curry did in college.
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