Young Named to Wooden Award Midseason Top 25

Ben Coldagelli
By Ben Coldagelli
Director of Communications

NORMAN – Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young has been selected to the Midseason Top 25 for the John R. Wooden Award. Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for one of college basketball’s most prestigious individual honors, based on their performances during the first half of the 2017-18 season.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year. The award is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his university that he is making progress towards graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984) and Tim Duncan (1997).

Oklahoma is the only school with multiple John R. Wooden Award winners over the past 14 seasons with Buddy Hield (2016) and Blake Griffin (2009) each earning the honor. Only one school (Duke) has ever had three student-athletes receive the award within a 10-year stretch.

A 6-2 guard from Norman, Young is one of six freshmen and four Big 12 players to make the top-25 list.

Through the midway point of the regular season, Young leads the nation in both scoring (29.2 points per game) and assists (10.2). No player in recorded NCAA history has finished a season leading the country in both scoring and assists. He also averages 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals while shooting .449 from the field and .389 from 3-point range.

Through 15 games, the Norman native has put together nine double-doubles, 14 20-plus-point games and five 30-plus-point games.

Despite only playing college basketball for two months, the guard has wasted no time in making his mark on the Oklahoma and NCAA record books. Young already ranks in the top 10 among all-time OU freshmen in numerous categories for season totals, sitting at seventh in points (438), second in assists (153), third in made 3-pointers (58) and fourth in made foul shots (126).

The rookie has recorded 25 points and 10 assists in seven of his 15 games this season - the most in a college career in the past 20 years. The only other college player to reach seven such games in the past two decades is J.J. Barea of Northeastern (2002-06) with seven in 113 career games.

Young has scored 25 points in 13 straight games (dating back to Nov. 23), the longest such streak by any D-I player in at least 20 years.

One of the Young's top single-game achievements was dishing out 22 assists against Northwestern State on Dec. 19, tying the NCAA record for most assists in a game (assists became official in 1983-84) while breaking both Oklahoma and Big 12 records (both were 18 assists). Young is the fourth player in recorded college basketball history to register 22 assists and the first since Sherman Douglas of Syracuse in 1989. Since the NCAA began recording assists in 1983, Young is the only freshman to dish out 20 or more assists in a game.

Through nine weeks, Young has earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors five times - the second most in a season in conference history, behind only Blake Griffin (also of Oklahoma) with six honors in 2008-09. Young has been named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Nov. 13, Nov. 27, Dec. 18, Dec. 27 and Jan. 1. He has also earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 20 and Dec. 4.

Young came to OU after averaging 42.6 points, 4.1 assists and 5.8 rebounds during his senior year at Norman North High School – just three miles from the heart of the OU campus. A five-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout, Young is the fourth McDonald’s All-American from the state of Oklahoma to play for OU, joining Sooner legends Blake Griffin, Wayman Tisdale and Jeff Webster.

The players on the Midseason Top 25 list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to voters on the Final Ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament. Every year, players have made the Final Ballot that were not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voters are permitted to take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament when casting the ballot. The ten-man Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

The full Midseason Top 25 list can be viewed here.

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