As a high school senior, an Oklahoma media outlet named Norman North (Norman, Okla.) star Trae Young as the most important sports figure in the state behind Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield.
But after Thursday, Mayfield may be in danger of losing the No. 2 spot.
Young opted to stay home and commit to the Sooners, picking Oklahoma over Kansas and Oklahoma State.
“This decision has definitely been the hardest one I’ve ever made,” Young told USA Today. “I chose Oklahoma because of the role I’d be playing. I knew I’d have a lot of my shoulders and there would be a lot of pressure to perform, but that was attractive to me.
“I’ve always been a winner. Growing up, I never played on a losing team and that won’t change now. I want to bring a winning mentality and winning culture back to Oklahoma basketball.”
He’s certainly done that this season at Norman North.
The Timberwolves are 17-3 and Young, a point guard who is ranked No. 14 overall in the ESPN 100, is averaging 43 points, five assists and five rebounds a game.
Last summer, Young averaged 27 points and 7.3 assists to lead Mokan Elite to the prestigious Nike Peach Jam title and helped the USA Men’s U18 National Team win a gold medal after posting a 5-0 record at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile.
“Oklahoma is the place where I feel I’ll reach my highest potential,” said Young, who was recently named to the McDonald’s All American and Jordan Brand Classic Games. “It wasn’t about being close to home or anything like that; Oklahoma was the best choice for me. The coaches, the fans, the situation I’ll be in, that all made it the perfect fit for me and I’m so relieved to have it over and done with. I’m glad to officially be a part of the Sooner family.”
Young is Oklahoma’s third commitment from the 2017 class, Harrah (Harrah, Okla.) forward Brady Manek and Helsinki Basketball Academy (Finland) center Hannes Pöllä are the other two.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY