By Michael Kinney
Just over a year after graduating from Norman North High school, Trae Young saw his dreams come true. The former Oklahoma point guard was drafted taken by the Atlanta Hawks Thursday in the 2018 NBA Draft.
“I have been waiting for this night my whole life, it’s crazy,” Young said. “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.”
The 19-year old Young was originally drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the No. 5 spot. But he was immediately traded to Atlanta for their No. 3 pick Luka Donic and a protected 2019 first round draft pick.
Young knew before he left the stage that the trade had gone down and was already focused on joining the Hawks.
During the pre-draft process, it was the Hawks who showed the most enthusiasm towards Young. As draft night got closer, it became evident they would make a move to grab the playmaking guard.
“We love his ability to pass the ball, to make other players better with his court vision,” said Hawks General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk. “Obviously, he gets a lot of notoriety for his long-range shooting, but I think his ability to pass the ball is what we really liked about him.”
Young is the sixth Sooner to be selected in the top-five an NBA Draft and was taken the highest of any guard in Oklahoma history.
“We are thrilled for Trae as he fulfilled his dream of being drafted into the NBA,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “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 distributor 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.”
Young is the second player in the Lon Kruger era who has been a lottery selection. Just two years ago, Buddy Hield was the sixth pick by New Orleans.
Young’s selection caps off what has been a banner year for the Sooners when it comes to professional drafts. Baker Mayfield was taken No. 1 in the NFK, Kyler Murray No. 6 in the MLB and Paige Lowary and Paige Parker were No. 1 and No. 5, respectively, in the National Fastpich Association draft.
Several hours after Young was selected, the Oklahoma City Thunder made their first picks of the night. With the 53rd selection in the second round, the Thunder drafted Devon Hall, a 6-foot-5, 211-pound guard out of the University of Virginia.
One of the few seniors taken, Hall averaged 11.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the three-point line during this past season.
“We feel like we know him really, really well,” said Vice President of Identification & Intelligence Will Dawkins. “He’s a guy who improved his shooting every single year he was in college, in attempts and accuracy. He’s able to play on the ball and off the ball. We’re interested in seeing him just kind of get on the floor and fit in with our other wings.”
A few minutes later Oklahoma City was back on the clock and chose Kevin Hervey from Texas-Arlington. The 6-foot-9 forward averaging 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his senior campaign.
“We’re really excited about the guys that we were able to add this evening,” General Manager Sam Presti said. “Anytime you’re picking in the late 50’s there, really your main objective is to try to shift the odds the best that you can and give yourself a chance to find a player who has a chance to play in the NBA.”
Oklahoma City also made a late trade with Charlotte for their 45th overall pick in Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo. Due to league rules, the trade can’t go into effect until July 6th, so no one from the Thunder organization could discuss it.
Diallo will be the third former Kentucky Wildcat on the Thunder roster. He joins Patrick Patterson and Dakari Johnson.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider with EyeAmTruth.com