The biggest piece at Oklahoma this season came down Wednesday afternoon -- and it relates to a player who’s not even in school, but he will be.
Five-star point guard Trae Young, one of the three best floor generals in the class of 2017, verbally committed to Lon Kruger’s program. It’s the first five-star commitment for Oklahoma basketball since Tiny Gallon in the 2010 class. (If you’re curious about a particularly famous Sooner in the past decade, Blake Griffin was ranked 16th overall in the Recruiting Services Consenus Index in 2007.)
In the 247 Sports composite, Young is 18th.
Oklahoma is the hometown choice for Young, who was essentially deciding between the Sooners and Kansas. One thing I do wonder: Did Young pick OU in part because of uncertainty with about Kansas junior point guard Devonte’ Graham’s future? If so, who’s to say that Bill Self wouldn’t have tried a two-guard point guard lineup next season, if Graham returns? He’s running one now with Frank Mason.
Either way, Young stays home, and he’ll have a chance to become a star for the Sooners.
Three Things to Know
1. This is a Final Four-impact get
I’m not saying Oklahoma will repeat what it did with Buddy Hield (who was a four-star recruit) and make a Final Four. But landing such a good point guard could be the building block that gets OU to the NCAA Tournament next season, then perhaps makes the Sooners a threat to play in the Final Four come 2019, 2020 and/or 2021. Young is very talented, but I could see him being anything from a two- to four-year player in college. This commitment could have a snowball effect on other four- or five-star players picking Oklahoma the next two years.
2. Young is not a super athlete, but he’s savvy player and a great shooter
He’s a lead guard more than a point guard. He’s able to distribute, but from what I’ve seen (about six games in person), Young likes to get his shot, though he doesn’t it force it. He’s got very good range and can grow into a stable college point guard with a little more weight on him. Even if you remove the pure talent, in terms of style, I don’t think Kruger’s had a guard like him at Oklahoma.
3. A new stage for a vetaran coach
Kruger gets a jolt with this commitment. Kruger, 64, has coached at Texas-Pan American Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma, where he has been since 2011. Young is one of his best gets ever, and again proves veteran coaches have what it takes to land top talent. Snagging Young is the type of recruiting victory that could prevent Oklahoma from having a long Hield hangover, should keep Oklahoma near the top of the Big 12 and probably ensures Kruger can stay in Norman for another four years, at least, if he wants.