Trae Young Declares for 2018 NBA Draft After 1 Year at Oklahoma

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2018

Oklahoma's Trae Young answers questions during a news conference for an NCAA college basketball first round game in Pittsburgh Tuesday, March 13, 2018. on Thursday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Oklahoma Sooners star point guard Trae Young told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday that he will enter the 2018 NBA draft after one season of college basketball.

The news hardly comes as a surprise after Young dominated during his freshman season in Norman, leading men's Division I basketball in both points (27.4) and assists (8.7) per game. That didn't translate to much success in the NCAA tournament, however, as Rhode Island defeated Oklahoma in an opening-round overtime thriller.

The loss was hardly Young's fault, however, as B/R's Jonathan Wasserman noted:

"He's a special player," Dan Hurley, Rhode Island's coach, said after that contest, per Scott Gleeson of USA Today. "One of the best players I've ever coached against."

Given that Young is likely going to be a lottery pick and could even sneak into the top five, depending on how teams evaluate him, his entry into the NBA draft after the 2017-18 season always felt like an inevitability.

Wasserman, for instance, projected Young to be the No. 9 overall pick to the New York Knicks in his March 13 mock draft, with Jeremy Woo of SI.com making the same projection March 14. As Woo wrote, "Though his star has dimmed a bit with his late-season struggles, he's still a fascinating talent and in the right situation could pace a team with his shooting and playmaking."

The 6'2", 180-pound Young has question marks, namely his size, defense and shot selection. But on an NBA team with more reliable scorers surrounding him, Young—who proved himself a more than capable facilitator at Oklahoma—likely would feel less pressure to hoist up questionable shots. 

Young isn't Steph Curry, but nobody else ever has been, either. If Young can continue to be a playmaker and becomes a more efficient, volume scorer, his deficiencies will be more easily overlooked.

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