NORMAN — University of Oklahoma head men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger announced Wednesday the signing of guard Trae Young to a national letter of intent on the first day of the 2017 spring signing period. Growing up just minutes from the OU campus, Young will join the Sooners as a freshman next season after attending Norman North High School.
Rated as a five-star recruit by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout, Young (6-2, 170) is the highest-rated prospect to sign with the Sooners during Kruger’s tenure. Young is consistently listed as a top-three point guard in the nation and is considered one of the top overall high school players in the country by Rivals (14th overall), ESPN (15), 247Sports (18) and Scout (21).
“Trae is a terrific all-around player and will be a great addition to our program,” said Kruger. “He can obviously score a lot of points, but more importantly he is all about winning and making his teammates better. He has grown up a Sooner fan and gotten to know our players very well over the past few years. His decision to attend the University of Oklahoma speaks to Trae’s loyalty to his hometown and university, and his confidence in his new teammates. We’re excited for Trae and our entire signing class as they join the OU basketball family.”
Young comes to OU after averaging 42.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game during his senior season at Norman North while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma in 2016 and 2017.
“This is just home,” said Young when he announced his commitment in February. “This has always been home to me… The playing style really fit well. With them (the current players) being so young and having a year or two of experience playing in the Big 12, I feel like they can help me as much as I can help them. It was really a perfect fit.”
During this past season, Young earned one of the top honors for a high school basketball prospect by being named a McDonald’s All-American. Young is the fifth McDonald’s All-American from the state of Oklahoma to sign with the Sooners out of high school, joining Blake Griffin, Ryan Humphrey, Wayman Tisdale and Jeff Webster. Young also earned first-team All-America honors by MaxPreps and is listed as a second-team All-American by USA Today and the Atlanta Tipoff Club (Naismith Trophy).
Young is one of 24 high school prospects selected to compete in the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The event will take place on Friday, April 14 at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
In addition to his success at the high school level, Young has been exposed to international competition as a member of the United States U18 National Team. Last summer, Young and Team USA won gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile. Young averaged 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in five games at the international tournament.
Young rounds out Kruger’s 2017 signing class as he joins Brady Manek and Hannes Polla, who signed with the Sooners in November.
A forward from Harrah, Okla., Manek (6-9, 215) is a four-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN and Scout, and a three-star recruit by Rivals. He averaged a double-double in his senior season at Harrah High School (24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game) while shooting 47.1 percent from the field. Manek was selected by The Oklahoman as its Little All-City Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017, and was named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State First Team in 2017.
Hailing from Lahti, Finland, Polla (6-11, 265) is listed as a four-star recruit by ESPN and a three-star prospect by Scout. In the 2016-17 Finnish League season, the center averaged 12.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks per contest for Helsinki Basketball Academy. Polla represented his home country in international competition as a member of the U16 and U18 Finnish National Teams.
One of the youngest teams in the country last season, Oklahoma expects to return 81.7 percent of its scoring from 2016-17, including starters Kristian Doolittle, Khadeem Lattin, Kameron McGusty and Rashard Odomes.