Young Named a Naismith Trophy Semifinalist

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Ben Coldagelli
By Ben Coldagelli
Associate Director of Communications
FEBRUARY 28, 2018

NORMAN – Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young is one of 10 national semifinalists for the James A. Naismith Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding men’s college basketball player. Four finalists will be selected from this list of 10 by the Naismith Awards master voting academy and be announced in the middle of March.

A 6-2 guard from Norman, Young leads the nation in scoring (28.0 points per game) and assists (9.0). No player in recorded NCAA history has finished a season leading the country in both scoring and assists.

Young has totaled 811 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 261 assists. He is the second Division I player to total 800 points and 250 assists in the same season in the past 20 years, joining Key Felder of Oakland (2015-16). His 261 dimes rank fifth for most by a freshman in NCAA history - 17 shy of the NCAA record (288) set by Duke's Bobby Hurley in 1989-90.

In 29 games, the Norman native has put together 12 double-doubles, 23 20-plus-point games, nine 30-plus-point games and four 40-plus-point games. Young also averages 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals.

Young already owns the Oklahoma freshman records for points (811), assists (261), 3-pointers (109) and made foul shots (222). 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.

Young isn’t just breaking school 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.

Celebrating its 50th year by honoring past winners, the Citizen Naismith Trophy has been presented to 45 unique winners at 31 schools over the last 49 years, starting with its first presentation to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in 1969.

Oklahoma is the only school with multiple Naismith Trophy winners over the past 14 seasons with Buddy Hield (2016) and Blake Griffin (2009) each earning the honor. Should Young win the award, Oklahoma would join Duke and UCLA as the only schools to have three student-athletes receive the award within a 10-year stretch.

Young is joined on the semifinalist list by DeAndre Ayton (Arizona), Marvin Bagley III (Duke), Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Keenan Evans (Texas Tech), Devonte' Graham (Kansas) and Jock Landale (St. Mary's).

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