Young Headed to Atlanta as Top-Five Pick

Ben Coldagelli
By Ben Coldagelli
Director of Communications

NORMAN – Oklahoma point guard Trae Young was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. Moments after being drafted by the Mavericks, Young was traded to the Atlanta Hawks.

Young is the sixth Sooner to be selected in the first five picks of an NBA Draft and was taken the highest of any guard in Oklahoma history.

A 6-2 guard from Norman, Young recently concluded one of the most historic seasons in recent college basketball memory. He is the first player in NCAA Division I history to finish the season leading the country in both scoring (27.4) and assists (8.7).

"We are thrilled for Trae as he fulfilled his dream of being drafted into the NBA," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "The Oklahoma program has a long history of Sooners reaching the NBA and it's an honor to see Trae added to that list. He had a fantastic season as a freshman and did things we had never seen before in college basketball, such as leading the country in both points and assists. Trae's skills as a scorer and a distributer should be an exciting addition to the Hawks and we're excited to see him compete at the next level while representing the University of Oklahoma and the city of Norman."

Oklahoma has now seen 49 Sooners selected into the NBA Draft. Young becomes OU's 10th first-round pick and seventh lottery selection in program history. He is the fourth Sooner to be drafted under Kruger and is the third OU guard to hear his named called on draft night in the past three years.


Over the past 10 seasons, Oklahoma boasts seven NBA Draft selections, including three lottery picks. Blake Griffin was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 and Buddy Hield was taken with the sixth choice in 2016.

"I have been waiting for this night my whole life, it's crazy," said Young. "This is such a special moment for me and my family. I want to thank Coach Kruger and the entire OU community for supporting me and my coach from North Norman High School, Coach Merritt, for starting this process with me. Oklahoma will always have a special place in my heart and I will always be a Sooner."

Oklahoma's 11th Consensus All-America First Team selection, Young set program, conference and NCAA records throughout his lone season with the Sooners. Young's 27.4 points per game mark the highest scoring average ever recorded by an Oklahoma or Big 12 player. His 8.7 dimes per game are good for the best assist average in OU history and are second in Big 12 history only to Doug Gottlieb of Oklahoma State (8.8 assists per game in 1998-99).

Young owns Oklahoma's freshman records for points (876), assists (279) and 3-pointers (118). He heads to the Association as the OU single-season record holder in scoring average (27.4), assist average (8.7) and made foul shots (236). His 876 total points are the fourth-most in a single season by a Sooner, trailing only Wayman Tisdale (932 and 919) and Hield (925).

The guard didn't just break school and conference records, he also tied one of the most impressive single-game records in college hoops history. By dishing out 22 assists against Northwestern State on Dec. 19, he tied 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).

"This is such a special moment for me and my family. I want to thank Coach Kruger and the entire OU community for supporting me...Oklahoma will always have a special place in my heart and I will always be a Sooner."
- Trae Young

Young's play was recognized with numerous honors and awards. The USBWA named Young the winner of the 2018 Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award, named after the OU legend. By receiving the honor, Young joins a prestigious list of past winners that includes Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber.

The Norman native was also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award and John R. Wooden Award.

The Big 12 Conference's head coaches selected Young as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and unanimously selected him to the All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.

Young's selection as the fifth overall pick continues a trend of OU student-athletes across numerous sports being drafted in the top 10 this season. Football quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield was selected with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, baseball outfielder Kyler Murray was taken No. 9 in the 2018 MLB Draft and softball pitchers Paige Lowary (No. 1) and Paige Parker (No. 6) were both top-10 selections in the 2018 NPF Draft.

Oklahoma's multi-sport success marks just the second time in the past 25 years that a school has had student-athletes drafted in the top 10 of the MLB, NFL and NBA Drafts in the same season. OU is just the fourth school to produce top-10 picks in all three major drafts of the same season since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, joining Auburn (1988), Texas (1982 and 2006) and Stanford (1992).

Additional NBA Draft Notes

  • Oklahoma is the only school with multiple guards (Hield and Young) selected in the top six over the last three NBA Drafts.

  • Oklahoma and Duke are the only schools with multiple top-six picks over the last three drafts.

  • Griffin, Hield and Young were all drafted in the top six of their respective drafts. Over the past decade, only Kentucky (eight), Duke (six) and Kansas (four) have more top-six draft picks than Oklahoma.

  • Over the last three drafts, Oklahoma has as many top-10 draft picks (two) as the rest of the Big 12 combined (Kansas' Josh Jackson in 2017 as Texas' Mo Bamba in 2018).

  • Oklahoma's three top-10 NBA Draft picks in the last 10 years are the second most in the Big 12 and fifth most in the nation during that stretch.