Young Named Big 12 Freshman of the Year
NORMAN – Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young was named the Big 12 Conference’s Freshman of the Year on Sunday, as voted on by the conference’s head coaches. Additionally, Young was a unanimous selection for the All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
Young is the second Sooner to earn the Big 12 Freshman of the Year honor, joining Willie Warren in 2009. He is the third OU player in the Lon Kruger era to be named to the All-Big 12 First team, joining Romero Osby (2013) and Buddy Hield (2015 and 2016).
A 6-2 guard from Norman, Young leads the nation in scoring (27.5 points per game) and assists (8.9). No player in recorded NCAA history has finished a season leading the country in both scoring and assists.
If the season ended today, Young's averages for both points (27.5) and assists (8.9) would be the highest by any player in Big 12 history.
The freshman earned the regular season’s scoring title with plenty of distance between him and the rest of the conference. Young scored 281 more points than the league’s second-highest scorer (Devonte’ Graham of Kansas) and averaged at least 9.9 points more than any other player in the conference. The 9.9 points per game is the largest gap between a major conference’s leading scorer and second-leading scorer in at least 20 years.
Young has totaled 826 points in his freshman season – the most ever in a regular season by a Big 12 player. He is just the second player from a major conference to reach 800 points during the regular season in the past 20 years, joining JJ Redick of Duke (833 in 2005-06). Young is also the only freshman in Division I basketball to score 800 points in a regular season during the Big 12 era.
The freshman is putting up his scoring numbers while passing out a nation-leading 267 assists. He is the second player in NCAA Division I history to total 800 points and 250 assists in the same season and the first ever from a major conference. Oakland’s Key Felder (2015-16) is the only other Division I player to produce an 800-point, 250-assist season since the NCAA began tracking assists in 1983.
Young’s 267 dimes rank fifth for most by a freshman in NCAA history - 21 shy of the NCAA record (288) set by Duke's Bobby Hurley in 1989-90. Young is five assists shy of tying of the Big 12’s freshman assists record, set by T.J. Ford of Texas (273 in 2001-02).
Young owns the Oklahoma freshman records for points (826), assists (267), 3-pointers (110) and made foul shots (226). He claimed the Sooners' freshman scoring title on Tuesday by surpassing Oklahoma legend Wayman Tisdale's 810 points from the 1982-83 season. Tisdale’s freshman year was so memorable (he averaged 24.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks), that the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named its national freshman of the year award after him in 2010.
The guard isn’t just breaking school and conference records, he’s 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). 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.
Young is joined on the All-Big 12 First Team by Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Dean Wade (Kansas State), Keenan Evans (Texas Tech) and Jevon Carter (West Virginia). The Big 12 All-Newcomer Team is rounded out by Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State), Malik Newman (Kansas), Mohamed Bamba (Texas) and Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech).
The Sooners finished the 2017-18 regular season tied for sixth place in the Big 12. Oklahoma, who was selected to finish in sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll, has finished higher or equal to where it was picked in the poll in five of the seven seasons under head coach Lon Kruger.
Due to a four-way tie for the sixth position, Oklahoma will play as the ninth seed in the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners open play at the conference tournament against Oklahoma State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. The postseason opener will take place at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., and air on ESPNU.