Trae Young's father says 5-star 2017 PG is still undecided


Kansas basketball recruit Trae Young (11) weaves his way though traffic as he drives to the hoop  during AAU competition Saturday afternoon at Lawrence Sports Pavilion.

Kansas basketball recruit Trae Young (11) weaves his way though traffic as he drives to the hoop during AAU competition Saturday afternoon at Lawrence Sports Pavilion. by John Young

College basketball recruiting can be a pretty cut-throat business, full of back-stabbing, trashing other schools and coaches and sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t always belong.

That’s why it was so cool to see the picture of Kansas coach Bill Self and Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger sitting together last night at a game in Norman, Oklahoma, where five-star target Trae Young put on yet another show and filled up the stat sheet.

Many recruiting analysts believe that Kansas and Oklahoma are the two finalists for Young, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound point guard who is ranked No. 14 by in the Class of 2017. So it would have been very easy for Self and Kruger to steer clear of one another and focus only on making sure they got what they needed out of the trip.

Instead, the two veteran Big 12 coaches, who have a ton of respect for one another, watched the game together. Get this: As someone pointed out on Twitter, you’ve got a native Oklahoman trying to convince Young to leave the Sooner State for Kansas and a native Kansan trying to tell Young to shun the Sunflower State to stay in Oklahoma. Recruiting in a nutshell right there.

Young’s recruitment has been one of the most closely watched by KU fans and the whole thing is now a little more than a week away from being over.

Young announced last week that he would reveal his decision at noon on Feb. 16, which means one week from tomorrow, at noon central, we’ll know whether all of that time and effort put into recruiting Young by Self, KU assistant Norm Roberts and the rest of the staff was worth it.

Until then, this is what we know today — Young remains truly undecided and is still trying to sort out which one of those choices is the best for him.

His father, former Texas Tech star Rayford Young, confirmed as much on KLWN’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk on Monday.

“He hasn’t made a decision yet,” Ray Young told Nick Schwerdt during a 15-minute radio interview. “That’s one thing I can tell you. He’s still praying about this thing every night.... I would be lying to you if I said that I’m not ready for this thing to be over with, but, at the same time, I’m kind of sad too because we really care for all these schools that have been putting in their time recruiting him. It’s gonna be a bittersweet day when we have to tell a couple of those schools no.”

Ray Young listed Oklahoma State in the mix, as well, but the Cowboys, at least to those who cover these things closely, appear to be a long shot at best.

Ray Young went on to explain just how difficult the entire process has been for Young, who appears to be weighing the decision of staying home and becoming the next great Sooners savior or joining the Jayhawks and competing for a national title on a stacked roster.

“Now it’s at the point where he just wants to make sure whatever school he goes to it’s a good fit for him and he’s gonna have the role that he deserves, that he should have,” Ray Young said. “Kids these days, they want to step on campus and have an impact from Day 1, especially a kid like Trae, one of the top two or three point guards in the nation, a McDonald’s All-American. So he wants to go play right away and make an impact and help the team win. I’ll be honest, one thing about Kansas is they’ve got Frank Mason playing the point and he’s a senior, that’s very intriguing to my son. Why wouldn’t it be intriguing to any senior in high school?”

While all of those factors, and so many more, have weighed heavily on Young’s mind during this whole process, Ray Young said Self’s style and the manner in which he has gone about recruiting Young have been refreshing and made things much easier to handle.

“It’s been a really, really tough decision,” Ray Young said. “But Coach Self’s been great. He doesn’t put any pressure on Trae, he just tells it like it is and tells him what his role’s gonna be and now it’s up to Trae.”

That last part seems to be a true indication of just how this process has gone down. Unlike some parents, who get overly involved and start to act and feel as if they are the ones being recruited, Ray Young, has left this decision in the hands of his son.

“My role is to try to let him make his own decision, but, at the same time, guide him in those decisions,” Ray Young said, noting that his experience in recruiting and playing in the Big 12 have provided good insight for his son. “Trae and I are really close and he’ll ask me questions every day about, ‘What do you think about this situation, what do you think if I did this, would this be the right thing to do?’ I think it’s great that we have that relationship but, at the same time, he’s not gonna be in our house forever.”


Joe Joseph 2 years, 1 month ago

Trae knows he will be letting a lot of local people down (as unfair as that is) by choosing Kansas. This makes me believe he is at least leaning towards choosing Kansas, but disclosing that info to avoid any premature disappointment among those around him and throughout Oklahoma. He will quickly go from one of the most prized, intriguing recruits to come out of Oklahoma to one of the most hated within the state.

I'm feeling pretty good about KU's chances.

Joseph Bullock 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure that Trae and his family know the consequences of his choice, and he has to do what is best for him, not just for College, but to make it to he next level. And it just makes sense to play for a Coaching Staff like Kansas has, and to get the kind of National attention he will get, while competing for a National Championship! I have seen Trae play, in person, 2 times, including in Norman, about a month ago, and he would fit in so well, with what Kansas will have next season. Think about this; Udoka at the 5, Preston at the 4, and whoever else you want to put, where ever you want to put them. And Trae can flat out shoot the ball, his handle is off the charts, and his passing ability is second to none. But what I like most about him, is he is so 'well mannered', and the kind of student athlete that will fit in perfectly, at Kansas, and with the players we have on our team, who are consummate "Team Players"! I am sure hoping to say, Rock Chalk, Trae Hawk!

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget Vick's slashing skills will be better. Lightfoot will put on some weight and Coleby will have more confidence. Dok could be the second coming of Embiid next year. With Trae at point we'll just have to play out our preseason #1 ranking.

Eliott Reeder 2 years, 1 month ago

Splitting time with Billy Preston. Either starting at the four spot or backing him up, and which way that goes is pretty much up to Bragg, his willingness to put in time in the weight room and on the court in the off-season, and whether or not he continues to make poor decisions off the court.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 1 month ago

A couple of the advantages of Kansas not mentioned in the article is how Self and the coaches develop players, how Hudy develops their bodies, and the impetus on academics. I'm sure OU does those things, also, but Kansas has shown it excels at these things.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 1 month ago

I like our chances, but Kruger was one of the all-time great guards in the b-8/12, and has an NBA resume as well. Buddy Heild may be helping Kruger too.

Harlan Hobbs 2 years, 1 month ago

Obviously, Trae and his dad are first class people. Whatever their decision, we should respect them for their character and discipline. Would be nice to have another recruit who seems wise beyond his years, just like Josh Jackson.

Mike Greer 2 years, 1 month ago

I'll take all the Josh Jackson clones you can send our way! A great team player with a good attitude. And for Trae, the number 11 will be available next season.

Kent Richardson 2 years, 1 month ago

Trae and his dad are in a spat with a couple of local sports writers who were critical of him. His dad even tweeted that because of these writers OU should not recruit Trae. Critics say he is not disciplined and shows off, he shoots too deep and misses many threes just trying to be fancy. Also cops an attitude with officials and gets T'd up for it. I have not seen him play so this is all second hand but it would lead to maybe some insight. I think this was latched onto and passed along by OSU hopefuls.

One thing in our favor is Self's willingness to go with the modified dual point guard look and this is a really good thing for a young point guard who won't be ready for the pressure of B12 conference games. From what I see Trevon Duval is likely a Dukie.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 1 month ago

I saw the follow up interview with him and his Dad (regarding the spat with reporters) and his dad basically said he's just being a father and protective of what people say about his kid. He admitted to overreacting really. Was hoping he'd hold more of a grudge:)

Kent Richardson 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm wondering if the decision by California which has a law the does not allow public colleges to travel to states that allow discrimination against LGBTQ. Kansas allows on campus groups to discriminate on the basis of their interpretive religious convictions. So no home and home it looks like for KU with California colleges? Just thinking about recruiting impacts if any. We've seen some economic impact in NC because of their laws. Include Mississippi and Tennessee.

David Robinett 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure Iowa State has put some players in the league, but I think Kirk Heinrich and Nick Collison improvd their chances by playing at KU.

So that's one example for tray to consider.

Jason Roberts 2 years, 1 month ago

If Kruger is smart he'll also reach out to Blake Griffin. He's a player who came from Oklahoma and decided to stay in state.

My bigger question is this: Is KU a possibility for Trevon Duval? I'd love to see both of them here a la Frank Mason/Devonte Graham but I know that's asking a lot.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 1 month ago

Definitely asking a lot:) Be nice but with Newman, and if Graham stays and with Trae I don't think Duval would consider sharing time. Be verrry interesting to see how hard Self pushes for Duval though if Trae passes on KU. Glad Duval at least got to see the Baylor game. Duke has been the lead apparently per rumor, but that game seemed to at least leave an impression on him and his dad per their reactions and interviews

Tracy Atherton 2 years, 1 month ago

Kansas or Oklahoma, either way the kid can't loose. I am a die hard KU fan but Kruger is an excellent coach and his offense is guard oriented. At least he will stay in the Big 12.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

For sure Vick, Newman, Cunliffe, Garrett, likely Graham, possibly SVI...this looks like a logjam of players at the back line that may not work to KU's advantage toward Trae.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 1 month ago

If we get Young, I bet Garrett redshirts

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