Vincent Edward Mendoza
After a stellar start to the AAU circuit this summer, 2017 point guard Trae Young of Norman, OK has seen his stock rise. The 6’1 170 pound guard stock has risen even as the summer tournaments begin to heat up as Young has already made an impact that includes MVP at the Top 30 Cream of the Crop at the Pangos All American camp and landing himself, as the only junior to be, that is in the top 10 in points, assists and 3 pointers made in the Nike EYBL circuit.
After holding offers from schools such as Duke, UNC, UCLA, and UCONN to name a few, Young got an offer from Arizona. With Kadeem Allen entering his redshirt junior year and Parker Cartwright-Jackson heading into his sophomore campaign as the only true point guards on the Arizona roster, Miller and staff look to add to this position and Young has the ability to contribute major minutes his freshmen season should he look to entertain the thought of becoming an Arizona Wildcat.
PGU caught up with Rayford Young, Trae’s father, who played collegiate basketball at Texas Tech from 1996-00 and professionally in Europe, on his son’s game and where they look to take the recruitment process from here as he is heading into his junior year of high school.
“Trae understands that he still needs to add strength as teams are starting to get physical with him because of his ability to shoot so well. So we’re working on adding strength and being able to be more aggressive defensively is the goal this summer,” he said.
During the Pangos All-American Camp Young had multiple facets of his game on display where he was able to find the open man in transition and in the half-court offense. If defenses gave Young an inch he exploded through either pulling up for the 15 foot jumper or attacking the basket and finishing with grace around the rim.
“Trae is most comfortable in transition. He is so crafty with the ball and shifty that it’s hard to predict whether he will pull up for the 3, get to the rim or shoot the floater,” Young’s father said.
Upon winning the MVP of the Top 30 game, Young stood out all weekend with his crisp passes and ability to pass his teammates open while getting to his spots on the court.
“Trae was very unselfish. He only took shots when he needed to and that’s what helped him be the MVP, not being selfish and knocking down shots,” he said.
Defensively, PGU asked what are his strengths and Mr. Young pointed out, “Trae’s strength is helping others and being willing to stick his body in the paint to take a charge. He does need to work on being more physical and guarding bigger players.”
Trae Young has seen his stock soar as evident by the new scout ranking as he made one of the biggest jumps from his previous national ranking of 65 to 32 overall. It comes as no surprise to the Young family because during his sophomore season Trae averaged a stellar 25 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds per contest.
PGU asked if Trae takes his game to another level during the AAU season and Mr. Young replied, “There’s not much to turn up, he is driven because he feels he’s one of the best point guards in the country but hasn’t been noticed until this summer. Living in Oklahoma it’s hard for people to see how good he is. He’s just looking forward to showing people how hard he has worked.”
As the recruitment process begins to take shape and the Young family look to start trimming their list PGU asked how Arizona fits into their plans.
“The interest in Arizona is based on the successful history of the program, the way they’ve developed their point guards and the success of their former players,” he said. “I remember playing against Mike Bibby when I was in high school and I played with Reggie Geary as a professional in Europe so I know more than most about the program.”
“Trae loves Arizona and although he’s being recruited by Duke, UNC, UCLA, UCONN and others, he feels very appreciative to be offered a scholarship to Arizona,” he added. “He knows Trier very well and Trae has tried to communicate as much as possible with Allonzo about how to prepare for the Nike AAU circuit and how to approach the game at a high level. Trae’s interest in Arizona has tremendously grown based on his conversations with Trier.”
“Of course there was interest in Arizona,” he said. “At this point in Trae’s young career it’s an honor to receive offers from top schools but the main focus is to continue to get better and get prepared to make an impact at the next level.”
Since receiving an Arizona offer Trae has been getting a steady dose of Coach Pasternack. With the success that some of the top programs who have offered Young PGU spoke with Mr. Young about the recent success of NBA draftees and if that would come into play at all when selecting a school.
“I would admit that NBA draftee success always is a consideration but it is at the bottom of the list,” he said. “Most important aspect is education, an opportunity to play in a big time conference, big time arena, with a chance to play in the NCCA tournament and a chance to win the big dance.”
Even though it is still early in the process for the Young family, it looks to be a busy summer that will include visits.
“We have a number of visits scheduled. Duke, UNC, Virginia, Stanford and hopefully Arizona in early August,” he said.