All-Access: Five-star PG Trae Young and his family’s recruiting …

February 15, 2017 - accent chair

Trae Young (middle) discusses a pros and cons of his recruitment with his mom (right) and father (left). (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

Trae Young (center) discusses a pros and cons of his recruitment with his mom, Candice (right), and dad, Ray (left). (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

NORMAN, Okla. – Norman, Okla., is a form of place that would, and does, have a hulk white H2O building high above a stately lacebark elm tree line that’s ocular for miles with a city’s name intoxicated opposite a front in Sooner Crimson, a lifeblood of a tighten college city parked in a shade of Oklahoma City, where Russell Westbrook hosts antagonistic hardwood takeovers on a unchanging basis.

Norman has a possess “Westbrook” form in Trae Young, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound star indicate ensure who embodies a Oklahoma City Thunder star’s “kill all and everybody” mentality.

As one NBA director put it, “Trae is potentially a form of actor that can step in and assistance we a day we breeze him.”

That would be priesthood to a self-evident choir if we ask a coaches from a colleges that make adult Young’s final six: Oklahoma State, Washington, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas Tech.

That’s what creates a review on this unseasonably comfortable Feb afternoon vital.

In a swanky, two-story red section house, Young and his relatives Ray and Candice will accommodate to debate, jot notes, agree, remonstrate and determine to remonstrate in sequence to come adult with a preference that will positively richen a fortunes of whichever propagandize Trae picks.

Need perspective?

Trae, who was recently named to a McDonald’s All American and Jordan Brand Classic Games, is ranked No. 14 altogether among seniors in a ESPN 100 and averages 43 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists a diversion for Norman North.

RELATED: The Trae Young Blog

“It’s a large decision,” Trae says. “A lot of pressure.”

No, not a normal, “We’d be good if we got him” pressure; it runs deeper.

“A internal news opening pronounced that when it comes to critical sports total in a state it’s Russell Westbrook, Baker Mayfield and Trae Young,” Ray says.

That research sheds light on a star-struck diagnosis Trae receives on his brief travel from Ray’s SUV to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Feb. 9 to see Westbrook take on a Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.

“Aye, Trae Young! Yeah, that’s you! What’s adult man? Where we going? You know we need to stay here and assistance them Sooners out. I’m sayin’, we need you.”

Trae takes 5 stairs and another fan spots him.

“Trae Young! I’m a large fan.”

Trae takes 10 stairs and an aged integrate calls from behind.

“Whoa! Traaae Young! Honey, that’s Trae Young; my mom and we are large fans. When are we deciding?” 

Three some-more encounters, 4 random, “Yo! Trae Young!’ shouts and large “That’s him!” glances and Trae plops down in he and his dad’s reduce spin seats.

“This things gets wild, huh,” Trae says with a smile. “It’s cool, though I’ll be happy when it’s all over and we don’t have to answer that doubt over and over.”

Roundtable begins

Ray walks over to a rectilinear cherry timber dining table, hands Candice a coop and a few pieces of paper and sits in a cream upholstered chair confronting her.

The residence is loyal out of HGTV; tan walls reason excellent art and orderly fluffed pillows are good meagre on plush couches and accent chairs.

It’s immaculate. Symmetric. Proportionately posh.

Candice has to have it that way.

“She’s a small OCD with that,” Ray says. “But we like it.”

RELATED: Young some-more encouraged with McDonald’s All American jersey in hand

Just afterwards she asks Ray to spin a TV down in a adjoining den.

“Too loud,” she says.

Ray complies and Candice stares earnestly during a vacant sheets of paper. It’s transparent she’s wakeful of a bulk of this discussion.

Trae walks in a front door.

Ray parks him between he and Candice during a conduct of a table.

He asks if Trae needs coop and paper; Trae shakes his conduct and points to his temple.

“Got it all right here,” he says.

Ray lists off a 6 schools and instructs them to list pros and cons for each.

Trae Young pronounced his preference is over stressful. Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

Trae Young pronounced his preference is “beyond stressful.” Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

First adult is Washington.

The evident accord is that, by far, a biggest thing about a Huskies is that they’re bringing in Nathan Hale (Seattle) brazen Michael Porter Jr.

Makes clarity given Porter is a top-ranked actor in a ESPN 100 and is one of Trae’s best friends.

The dual dominated a prestigious Nike EYBL, culminating in winning Nike Peach Jam final July.

“We’d kill together,” Trae says. “That’s been proven.”

“Can’t stop that duo,” Ray concedes.

“That and Coach (Lorenzo) Romar gets his players to a league,” Trae says. “That’s big.”

Ray agrees, though adds that if Trae isn’t prepared to go to a NBA after one year, he’d be there though Porter, a practical tighten for a 2018 NBA Draft lottery.

“Then you’d be in a Ben Simmons-Antonio Blakeney conditions during LSU,” Ray says. “That wouldn’t be ideal. These are a things we have to consider about.”

“True,” Trae says.

Texas Tech

Ray sits adult in his chair, smiles and shuffles his papers together.

“Alright now,” he says. “Make me happy here Trae.”

Ray starred in Lubbock from 1996-2000, before personification in a NBA, ABA and Europe from 2001-07.

“So for this we usually wish one con!” Ray says with a smile. “They had a best visit!”

Candice and Trae laugh.

RELATED: Trae Young scores a career-high 65 points

“You’re observant that given they showed that small reverence to we on a large screen,” Trae says. “You know we favourite that.”

“Well, a pro would be that he’d be means to kick all of your records,” Candice jokes.

“I consider it’d be cold to be a initial five-star partisan they’ve ever had,” Trae says. “That’s appealing to me, but, to be honest… Umm…”

Trae hesitates. It’s transparent he’s perplexing to gangling his dad’s feelings, though Ray presses him.

“It’s usually us in here, man,” Ray says. “Come on now.”

“I usually consider they need some-more talent,” Trae says. “Sorry, I’m usually being honest. we usually wish to win.”

“It’s all good,” Ray says. “The problem for me is their system. we don’t consider they run enough. You need to get adult and down. we usually don’t know if they do that adequate for you.”

Oklahoma State

Trae starts in with how many he loves “what they’re doing with Jawun (Evans).”

The sophomore ensure is posting 18 points, 5.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds a diversion this deteriorate for a Cowboys.

“Coach (Brad) Underwood unequivocally lets him play,” Trae says. “They’re winning and they’re one of a best teams in a Big 12 this year. we unequivocally like them.”

“Yeah me, too,” adds Ray. “I desired their fans; they were unequivocally understanding and they knew all about you. we consider Coach Lamont (Evans) has finished a good pursuit with you, too! What about cons?”

“You’ve gotta come behind to me on that,” Trae says. “Well, indeed Coach Underwood got in a small late after they dismissed Coach (Travis) Ford, and they also don’t play Jawun as many as a other starting indicate guards in a Big 12.”

“You’re articulate about how they take him out in break time?” Ray says with a laugh. “Yeah, we could see that.”

“I like that they’re changing things in a right instruction and we adore a fan base,” Candice says. “But we don’t know if they’re changing discerning enough. Things had forsaken off so many with Travis Ford; we usually don’t know how fast they’ll get behind to where it was.”


As shortly as Ray says, “Alright, let’s speak about Kentucky,” Trae and Candice detonate into laughter.

“What?” Ray says with a deceit grin. “Hey, we like Kentucky.”

“Oh, yeah, you’ll substantially need another page for all these pros you’re about to list,” Trae says while laughing.

“Well, we already know how we feel,” Ray says. “If it was adult to me this would be my pick. Coach (John) Cal, man! Coach Cal!”

Ray talks in-depth about a significance of personification a percentages when a thought is creation it to a NBA. Since he took over in Lexington in 2009, Calipari has sent 28 players to a NBA.

Still, Candice is discerning to indicate out that a strike there is a one-and-done players he gets credit for “would be one-and-done players wherever they went.”

“The lane record is second to nothing to me,” Ray says. “Then you’ve got K.P. (Kenny Payne), we unequivocally favourite him. Honestly, a best thing about that revisit was observant Coach Cal outward of a basketball locus and spending time with he and his wife. we adore how Kentucky prepares we to be a pro given that’s all it is in Lexington – Kentucky basketball.”

“I unequivocally like Coach Cal and K.P. and their workouts were crazy,” Trae says. “I really like that we was a initial indicate ensure that they were on. They finished me a priority. That was big, generally with it being Kentucky.”

When a review turns to cons, Ray peers over during Candice, smiles, and afterwards motions for her to tilt off her list.

“Keep it real,” he says. “I know you’ve got ‘em.”

“I’ve indeed got some-more pros,” she says matter of factly. “But a housing… They’ve got a misfortune dorms out of all a schools.”

“Yeah they did,” Trae says with a laugh. “But to Coach Cal’s point, we don’t collect a propagandize formed on a housing.”

“Yeah, though you’ve gotta live there for 9 months,” Candice replies. “I meant come on now it was one room, a penetrate was in a bedroom; really normal aged propagandize dorm room.”

“Yeah, a bedrooms couldn’t contest with Kansas, Oklahoma State and those other schools,” Trae says. “It’s not adult to date.”

Trae Young's dad, Ray (left), tries to sell Young, (center) and his wife, Candice (right), on a Wildcats. (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

Ray tries to sell Trae and Candice on a Wildcats. (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

“That’s given you’re gonna be in a gym!” Ray says.

“Well, it army we to,” Trae says. “The other criminal is that, going there, if you’re not a one-and-done you’re looked during differently. Like we weren’t built for Kentucky or something like that. we didn’t like that.”

Ray conceded that point.

He pronounced to be successful in a NBA it’s some-more about going when you’re prepared and reduction about being one-and-done.

“I consider we can go there and get drafted, no doubt,” Ray says. “But it’s not about that. Look during Tyler Ulis, we adore him and he got drafted, that is great, though is he gonna use his whole rookie agreement on a bench? You wish to be a tip 15 masculine personification right divided or do we wish to be a career backup?”

Ray is unashamed in his gaunt toward college basketball’s famed “blue blood” schools – Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas – though creates a clever indicate about where those schools’ indicate guards mount when it comes to a NBA’s tip 10.

“Only dual of a tip 10 are from blue bloods,” he says. “Think about what Chris Paul told you. He could’ve went to a blue blood, though he went to Wake Forest, stayed dual years and demeanour during his career. See, when we speak Kentucky, you’ve gotta puncture deeper. That said, we adore Kentucky.”


If Ray was a full-blown cheerleader for Big Blue Nation, Candice is, during a really least, holding a pom-poms for a Sooners.

“Coach (Lon) Kruger has been there from Day One,” Candice says. “He saw his intensity from Day One and …”

“Wait,” Ray interrupts with a laugh. “He lives here (in Norman), so of march …”

“No, no that’s true, though I’m contemptible it usually is what it is,” Candice continues. “He can’t assistance where he lives. There is positively a comfort in meaningful that he saw his intensity for so prolonged and he’s stayed with him and watched him comprehend that potential. If we lived in Kansas, I’d contend a same about Bill Self, though we live here. That’s how we feel.”

“OK, it’s a satisfactory point,” Ray says.

Candice goes on to speak about a tighten vicinity being a certain and disastrous to Trae’s growth as an adult.

“It’s good given you’ll be around your family and we’ll be means to see we any game,” she says. “But it’s bad given it might impede we being means to grow adult a approach we need to when you’re in college stepping out on your own.”

Ray sarcastically raises his palm and smiles.

“Can we talk?” he says.

Candice debates with Ray about Oklahoma. (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

Candice debates with Ray about Oklahoma. (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

“No!” Candice says as she and Trae share a chuckle.

“OK, we have good points, but, again, let’s speak about a percentages,” Ray says. “I adore Coach (Kruger), though how many one-and-done or two-and-done players has he put in a league?”

Trae agrees with Ray and points to a fact that Sooners beginner ensure Kameron McGusty is a tip ranked partisan Kruger has ever had.

McGusty was a four-star partisan who finished high propagandize ranked No. 46 altogether in a ESPN 100. This deteriorate he’s averaging 10.5 points and dual rebounds a game.

“That’s frightful given he might not know how to manager a masculine like you,” Ray says.

“He grown Buddy Hield!” Trae says. “He averaged 3 points a diversion as a freshman. If he would’ve averaged 17 points his beginner year we pledge it wouldn’t have taken him 4 years to leave.”

Trae goes on about how he’s built a attribute with Kruger given a eighth grade, how a up-and-down character fits his strengths and afterwards there was Kruger’s wow cause of a pitch.

“He pronounced he’d spin over a keys to a module to me not when a deteriorate started,” Trae says. “But on Jun 1. we favourite that.”

“OK, let’s be honest,” Ray says, apparently reduction impressed. “Coach Kruger has been on Trae given a eighth grade; from afterwards until Trae did what he did in a EYBL and all like that, how many times did he speak about Trae going to a league? That scares me; we consider Kruger can do it, it usually scares me.”

“I’m not disturbed about building underneath him,” Trae counters. “I demeanour during what he’s finished with other players and building isn’t a criminal for me.”

Ray has another perspective: a self-evident microscope.

If being a five-star is a gift, afterwards Ray’s endangered about a unavoidable abuse of it all.

“You’ll be asked to lift yourself opposite usually given of all you’re entrance in with,” Ray says. “Everything will be dissected. You’re ‘that dude’ and everybody is examination you. You can’t be a freshman. You can’t usually be a teenager. Fair or not, we have to always be on point.

“That’s a disproportion in going to Oklahoma over a place like Kansas or Kentucky; there you’ll have 3 or 4 other dudes that are usually like we and y’all can assistance any other.”

Silence. Deafening silence.

It’s transparent that Ray’s indicate strike home.

If this review were being seen on a large screen, this is a partial where a song would’ve been queued up; chills subsequently following suit.

Trae’s breaks from his coma and solemnly shakes his head.

“That true,” he says. “That’s true.”


Trae lets it be famous that when it comes to conduct coaches he likes, Self is tip dog; an regard that Ray is discerning to cosign.

“Ya know we adore Bill Self now,” Ray says with a smile.

Candice and Trae giggle and shake their heads.

“This masculine loves everybody!” Trae jokes. “You’re usually observant that given he showed that video.”

As a warn to Ray, Self pulled aged video footage of Ray’s 41-point diversion in an dissapoint win opposite Kansas in 1999.

“That was good played!” Candice says. “Well, for me, a whole Kansas staff is my favorite staff. Phog Allen is awesome!”

Trae reminiscences about “how live” a atmosphere was during his revisit and how many he desired a fans and how a character of play would span easily with his abilities.

Then a cons came.

“What are they?” Ray asks.

“Well, how many indicate guards has Coach Self gotten to a NBA?” Trae asks, clearly rhetorically.

“Mario Chalmers,” Ray says. “And Deron Williams, too.”

“Besides them,” Trae says. “He always talks about Sherron Collins, though I’m not certain what he does. But he was a five-star from a blue blood propagandize … Then Josh Selby … we usually feel like Coach Self’s thing is building people.”

Ray disagrees, though manages to list a few cons of his own.

He points to a intensity of Devonte’ Graham’s lapse and a odds that he’ll need to run a indicate to uncover NBA teams what he’s able of. He has a same regard with Mississippi State send Malik Newman.

“Yeah, he was ostensible to be a tighten to be a one-and-done,” Trae says. “So we know he’s gonna have a lot to prove. I’m not disturbed about competition, it’s usually something we have to consider about.”

Ray creates a clever indicate to Trae about given Kansas would be a good fit. (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

Ray creates a clever indicate to Trae about given Kansas would be a good fit. (Photo: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports Images)

“I feel you, it’s a small frightful given we wish people’s roles to be transparent and, some-more importantly, for them to accept them,” Ray adds. “But we go behind to what Coach Self told you, he said, ‘What else do we need to tell you, Trae? You’re gonna be a starting indicate ensure for Kansas University. You’re gonna be Frank Mason.’”

It’s an appealing sell for Trae.

Mason is a Jayhawks’ best actor and nearby a tip of many experts’ shortlist for National Player of a Year, averaging 20.1 points, 4.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game.

“Yeah, Frank is ballin’!” Trae says. “Coach Self asked me, ‘How is this a tough decision?’ You can’t not be captivated to that situation. That’s, like, impossible.’”

And Then There Were Three

Ray surveys Trae and Candice to see if they’ve pronounced all they need to contend about any school, good and bad.

When they nod, he asks if they consider they’re prepared to name a tip three.

“I consider we can,” Trae says.

Candice nods.

Ray starts to write.

“Well, for me, we contend Kentucky …” Ray says.

“Kentucky! Kentucky!’ Trae says with a laugh. “That’s really your tip three.”

Candice lists Oklahoma, Kansas and Oklahoma State.

“That’s what we was gonna say, too,” Trae says.

“So we have to take Kentucky out?” Ray says.

Reluctantly he complies, though asks if Trae is inventory a internal schools out of some arrange of obligation.

“You don’t owe anything to anybody now,” Ray says.

“It’s not that,” Trae says. “It’s a situations; we feel like these 3 schools are a best situations for me now that we’ve listed everything. we feel good about these three.”

Ray outlines by Kentucky, though not before adding a ole “as many as I’d like it to be Kentucky” for good measure.

“I determine with these three,” Ray says. “All things deliberate and looking during these pros and cons, they seem to make a many sense.”

There’s a pause. Trae looks during Ray afterwards Candice afterwards behind to Ray, who has a clever opinion on where Trae should go.

“Well, in my opinion, Kansas is a propagandize we need to go to,” Ray says. “You’ve got a best of both worlds: Blue blood and tighten vicinity so we can come see we play. You’ll have Billy Preston, Devonte’ Graham, Udoka Azubuike, Malik Newman, Lagerald Vick… You’ll be personification low in March.”

Trae nods.

No smile. No laugh.

He’s listening. Intently listening and Ray knows it.

“What we have to ask yourself with Oklahoma is can we be a subsequent T.J. Ford of a Big 12?” Ray continues.

In 2003, Ford became a initial masculine from a University of Texas to win a Naismith Player of a Year award, averaging 15 points, 7.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds a diversion for a Longhorns.

“I don’t have a doubt about that,” Trae says. “I consider they have talent.”

“I do, too,” Candice says. “They’ve got good immature talent, too.”

Trae brings it behind to Oklahoma State and reiterates how enticed he is by a approach a Cowboys use Evans afterwards switches behind to Kansas and talks about how many he loves a far-reaching array of weapons a Jayhawks will have to offer.

Ray and Candice usually listen.

They know he’s processing.

After a prolonged postponement Ray looks during Candice and interjects.

“Remember when he was entrance adult and all we wanted was for a son to like basketball and have a possibility to play in college?” Ray asks.

“Mmm hmm,” Candice replies.

“Then he started removing taller and improved and improved and, all of a sudden, he’s one of a best players in a country,” Ray continues. “Now you’re in a position to make it to a NBA. When we have this possibility we have to make a right decision. You have to. It can’t be formed on usually relationships, how many we adore people or how prolonged you’ve famous them. Your mom and we are gonna be happy with whatever propagandize we collect given we trust in your talent. But this has to be a business decision.”

Ray has a knack for nailing these contemplative moments.

Trae leans back, grabs both of his chair’s armrests and lets out a low sigh.

“You’re right,” he says. “I determine with all we said. we usually need to consider more. This was good, though it’s got me thinking. I’m gonna take some time. I’ll tell y’all what we confirm in a few days.”

“Gotta Make It”

The dark light offers a ideal backdrop for a shining Oklahoma City skyline as Trae walks down a spook city that is Reno Avenue to accommodate his sister, Caitlyn and Ray during a SUV.

Trae Young met with Cavs PG Kyrie Irving after a diversion opposite OKC. (Photo: Ray Young)

Trae Young met with Cavs PG Kyrie Irving after a diversion opposite OKC. (Photo: Ray Young)

The Thunder have usually knocked off a Cavs 118-109, though even some-more exciting, during slightest in Trae’s eyes, was that he got to couple with his favorite player, Kyrie Irving, after a game.

Ray is good friends with Cavs manager Tyronn Lue from their Big 12 battles when Lue starred during Nebraska.

And, yeah, even Lue has an opinion on a best choice for Trae as he leads a family to a group train after a game.

“Coach Self lets his guards rock,” Lue says. “He let’s ’em go. I’m revelation you!”

Trae and Caitlyn laugh.

Ray smirks and widens his eyes as if to say, “That’s what we said, too” as Lue hops inside a train and tells Irving that Trae is outside.

Irving is visibly angry during a loss, though he’s clearly happy to see Trae.

The dual have met mixed times in a past during camps and games. Trae’s even closer to Durant after spending time with him while he played with a Thunder and personification for Durant’s AAU group Mokan Elite. He’s also tighten to Westbrook and Chris Paul.

“What’s adult Trae!” Irving says with a smile.

They slap fives and clout it adult quickly before gnawing a pic together.

“Keep doing your thing, man,” Irving says before removing behind onto a bus.

The following night, Trae “did his thing” in a large way, dropping a career high 65 points in a 103-67 win over Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.).

The doubt is: Where will he do his thing subsequent season?

That will be answered Thursday during 1 p.m. EST, when Young reveals his choice during a press discussion during his school.

“People have no thought how tough these decisions are,” Trae says. “It’s not an easy thing to do. This preference kinda shapes your life.”

Cavs conduct manager Tyronn Lue told Trae that Bill Self lets his guards play. (Photo: Ray Young)

Cavs conduct manager Tyronn Lue told Trae that Bill Self lets his guards play. (Photo: Ray Young)

That fact never seemed some-more genuine than on this Feb night on Reno Avenue.

Blame it on his discuss with Irving. Blame it on observant Cavs ensure Deandre Liggins travel to a group train toting dual red Gucci bags. Blame it on Trae being a restrained of a impulse after being unprotected to a NBA life usually now or observant LeBron go all “LeBron” on a Thunder. But as he approaches Ray’s SUV, Young stops unexpected and has an epiphany.

The epiphany.

Then he reels off a biggest two-letter word in a English language: If.

“If we don’t make it, maaaaan,” Trae says. “I’ve gotta make it! I’ve been unprotected to this life for too prolonged by my relations with KD, Chris, Russ… we can’t not make it to this level. we just… we usually can’t. That’d be… I’ve usually gotta make it. Got to.”

Step one to embark Thursday.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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