Rayford Trae Young (born September 19, 1998) is an American professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Oklahoma Sooners. On December 19, 2017, with 22 assists he tied the NCAA single-game record, shared by Syracuse's Sherman Douglas (1989), Southern's Avery Johnson (1988) and Charleston Southern's Tony Fairley (1987). By the end of his only college season, Young would be the first and only player to ever lead the NCAA in both points and assists in a single season. He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2018 NBA draft with the fifth pick, but was later traded to the Atlanta Hawks, along with a future first-round pick, for the draft rights to Luka Dončić. He would join Dončić in a unanimous selection to the 2019 NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, Trae is the son of Candice and Rayford Young, who played basketball at Texas Tech and professionally in Europe. He has a younger brother, Timothy, and two younger sisters, Caitlyn and Camryn. Young also has an uncle that previously played college basketball under the NAIA.
High school career
Young attended Norman North High School in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma. While he did not play basketball in his freshman year at Norman North, he ended up playing for the team in his sophomore year. That year, he averaged 25 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game as he helped Norman North win the 2015 area championship and was named Oklahoma's Sophomore of the Year. During his junior year of high school, he significantly improved his game, averaging 34.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists as he led the team to a 28–4 record that year, winning the regional title and placing runner up in the 2016 Oklahoma Class 6A championship game. He was also named Oklahoma's Player of the Year by multiple sources. In his senior season, he averaged 42.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game while also shooting at a 48.9% rate.
Young was considered one of the best players in the 2017 recruiting class by Scout.com, Rivals.com and ESPN. ESPN considered him the second-best point guard prospect that year, while the other websites considered him the third-best point guard of the recruiting class that year. On February 16, 2017, Young committed to the Oklahoma Sooners, having him stay in his home state for his college career. He was the University of Oklahoma's first five-star recruit since Tiny Gallon in 2010.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Norman, OK||Norman North High School (OK)||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)||182 lb (83 kg)||Feb 16, 2017|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 21 Rivals: 14 247Sports: 18 ESPN: 15|
On February 16, 2017, Trae Young committed to the Oklahoma Sooners. At the start of the season, on November 12, Young recorded 15 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds in a win over the Omaha Mavericks. Three days after his college debut, Young recorded 22 points and a then season-high 13 assists in a win over the [Ball State Cardinals men's basketball|Ball State Cardinals]]. On November 26, Young recorded a season-high 43 points and seven assists in a 90–80 win over the Oregon Ducks. That game had his name draw multiple comparisons to Stephen Curry in terms of his playing style. On December 19, Young tied (with three others) the then-NCAA single-game assists record with 22, while also recording 26 points in a 105–68 win against the Northwestern State Demons. Throughout the season, Young rose from being a late first-round or a second-round pick to being a potential top-three pick for the 2018 NBA draft. He also garnered praise from both LeBron James and Stephen Curry for his season with Oklahoma. Young, however, ran into a rough patch when the West Virginia Mountaineers' Press Virginia defense forced him into eight turnovers on January 5, 2018. Furthermore, his individual defense has been rated as "poor". However, Young would recover with a season-high 43 points and 11 rebounds with sevent assists in a 102–97 overtime win over the TCU Horned Frogs a week later on January 13. Three days later, Young would wind up with a season-high 12 turnovers in a loss to the Kansas State Wildcats, which surpassed his previous season-high a few weeks ago. On January 20, Young recorded a new career-high 48 points (albeit on 14-on-39 overall shooting) in a close 83–81 overtime loss to the rival Oklahoma State Cowboys. He recovered from that with a 26-point (on 7-on-9 shooting) and nine-assist effort in an 85–80 win over the fifth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on January 23.
Young finished his freshman regular season leading the country in many statistics: assists (271), points (848), points per game (27.4), assists per game (8.7), and assist percentage (48.6%). The 811 points scored in the Big 12 would break the conference's record for most points scored by a freshman player, which was previously held by Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley. On March 7, 2018, Young was announced as the winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award for National Freshman of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). At the end of the regular season for Oklahoma, Young was also named the Big 12's Freshman of the Year and was a member of the All-Big 12's First Team. In addition, he was also brought up as a consensus member of the All-American First Team, which was named throughout multiple organizations. Young also joined 2018's top two selections Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III as the first consensus All-American First-Team to have three freshman players be named there. On March 15, Young recorded 28 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in an 83–78 overtime loss to the seventh-seeded Rhode Island Rams. He became the second freshman to record similar numbers of points in an NCAA Tournament game, with Chris Paul being the first player back in 2004.
Following Oklahoma's loss in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, Young announced his intention to forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA draft.
Atlanta Hawks (2018–present)
On June 21, 2018, Young was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2018 NBA draft, but was traded to the Atlanta Hawks along with a protected future first round pick in exchange for the rights to the third overall pick Luka Dončić. On July 1, 2018, Young signed with the Hawks. On October 21, in the Hawks' third game of the season, Young finished with a season-high 35 points and 11 assists in a 133–111 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. On November 19, Young finished with a career-high 17 assists, 25 points and three rebounds in a 127–119 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. On February 25, 2019, Young scored a career-high 36 points and made career high eight 3-pointers in a 119–111 loss to the Houston Rockets. On February 27, Young recorded 36 points and 10 assists in a 131–123 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then broke his season-high two days later on March 1, putting up a career-high 49 points alongside 16 assists in a high-scoring 168–161 quadruple overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. On March 31, Young scored a game-winner and had 12 points and 16 assists against the first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
On October 24, 2019, Young scored 38 points in the Hawks' season opener against the Detroit Pistons. On November 29, Young scored 49 points including 21 points in the fourth quarter to force the game to overtime against the Indiana Pacers. In January 2020 he was selected for the NBA All-Star selection as a backcourt starter. On January 26, Young recorded 45 points and 14 assists in a 152–133 win against the Washington Wizards. Young wore No. 8 in the first 8 seconds of the game in memory of Kobe Bryant.
National team career
He was a member of the U.S. men's national U18 team that won a gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship.
Young standing at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) and weighing 180 pounds (82 kg), primarily plays the point guard position. Young is considered to be of average height and weight for a point guard.
Coming out of Oklahoma, Trae Young had one of the most prolific statistical seasons in recent NCAA history as a Freshman showing great scoring & playmaking ability.
A dangerous shooter off the dribble, Young can shoot from relatively far behind three-point line, forcing defenders to defend further from the basket although Young has drawn criticism for his shot selection. Young also showcases creative and effective dribbling ability and quickness, being able to maneuver and accelerate past defenders on the perimeter. Young's small size sometimes can prevent him from scoring at the rim but he does show good positioning and ability to draw fouls when driving.
Young's vision and passing ability is already considered elite despite his lack of experience in the NBA, he already averages 8.2 assists in his career as of December 2019. Young is particularly skilled at running the pick and roll, being able to manipulate defenders to open up shots for his teammates, whether that be a pass to the roll man or to an open shooter. Trae particularly runs the pick and roll well with athletic teammate John Collins often throwing him lobs with Collins as the roll man.
On defense, Young is considered be a poor defender, his small size and height allows bigger players to post up or drive past him. This also prevents Young from switching on to bigger offensive players. Young also has been criticized for lack of defensive awareness and consistent effort on the defensive end.
Young's game has been primarily influenced by Steve Nash and Stephen Curry, to the point where he notes them as his favorite players of the game. His shooting ability has been compared positively to Curry's college years at Davidson College and his passing ability has been strongly influenced by Nash.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|*||Led NCAA Division I|
Young has three siblings, Caitlyn, Camryn, and Timothy. His father, Rayford, played basketball for Texas Tech. Young is a Christian.
Young followed the footsteps of Donovan Mitchell by being featured in the second season of the Young Hollywood original docu-series "Rookie on the Rise". The series follows Young on his race for the Rookie Of The Year.