HAMPTON, Va. – Trae Young has won everything from Gatorade State Player of the Year to a POWERADE Jam Fest three-point title to a gold medal with USA Basketball.
Still, ask Young which accomplishment tops the list and he won’t hesitate to tell you that it came last July when he led Mokan Elite (Mo.) to the Nike Peach Jam title.
“That was it,” said Young, a point guard at Norman North (Norman, Okla.) who is signed to Oklahoma. “You’re playing against the best competition on the best summer circuit and you prove that you’re the best by winning.
“It’s the biggest tournament of the summer. You literally go to war all summer during the EYBL. It’s every player’s goal to win it all at the Peach Jam.”
That makes this weekend’s opening session of the EYBL in Hampton paramount to achieving said goal, according to Young.
“It’s really important to start off strong,” said Young, who averaged 27 points, 7.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game at Peach Jam last year.
“Every game is gonna be a tough game because it’s the best circuit so you have to bring it. That’s the bottom line; you can’t take games off. You have to be super-focused.”
That said, Young was quick to add that even more important than focus is balance.
“It sounds cliché, but you have to have fun,” Young said. “When I was out there I was having fun every game and that helped my focus. That’s the best way to impress the coaches that are watching too. Just be loose. It’s still a game; that’s the best way to win it all.”
That and a little luck.
“Definitely need a little luck,” Young said. “When I think back on it, we definitely had some crazy shots go in here and there and we had big time guys miss shots that they make in their sleep in different games. You’re playing for the biggest trophy of the summer, against the best competition so you’re gonna need the ball to roll your way at times. It seems hard, but it can definitely be done.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY