NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, usually pretty stoic in front of the cameras, fumbled over his words while answering a question about conference awards at Sunday’s practice.
Young was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and unanimously named to the All-Big 12 First Team hours earlier, but he missed out on being player of year, which the conference coaches unanimously awarded to Kansas senior Devonte Graham, who helped the Jayhawks clinch their 14th straight regular-season title.
“It’s an honor being freshman of the year. I’m disappointed I didn’t get player of the year,” Young said. “I know winning matters. I wish we would have won more games, that’s very disappointing, but if that were the case, Kansas should have the last 14 players of the year.”
During Kansas’ reign, only five Jayhawks have won the award. OU has claimed three, Oklahoma State two, Texas two and one each from Kansas State and Iowa State. Guard James Anderson won the award in 2009-10 while averaging 22.3 points and 5.8 rebounds for an OSU team that finished tied for sixth in the conference.
Young is on pace to become the first player ever to lead the country in scoring (27.5) and assists (8.9). Those averages would be Big 12 records if the season ended today. Young’s 826 points are the most by any Big 12 player in a regular season, surpassing Kansas State guard Michael Beasley’s total of 795 in the 2007-08 season. He’s five assists short of tying the Big 12 freshman record for assists, set by T.J. Ford of Texas with 273 in 2001-02. Oakland’s Key Felder, in 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 numbers are overshadowed by OU’s recent skid, losing 10 of 14 and finishing tied for sixth in the conference. During that stretch, Young shot 38.4 percent from the field, 30.4 percent on 3-pointers, while averaging 24.6 points, 7.6 assists and 5.8 turnovers per game.
Still, Young finished the season with 281 more points than Graham, the league’s second-leading scorer, an average of 9.9 points more per game. That is the largest gap between a major conference’s leading scorer and second-leading scorer in at least 20 years. Graham also averaged 7.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Young was the only OU player that received an award or was named to any of the Big 12’s five teams or honorable mention. He was named to the All-Newcomer team.
Other individual winners were Jevon Carter of West Virginia, defensive player of the year; Terry Maston of Baylor, sixth man award; and Malik Newman of Kansas, newcomer of the year.
Graham, Carter and Young were joined on the first team by Dean Wade of Kansas State and Keenan Evans of Texas Tech.
Bill Self of Kansas and Chris Beard of Texas Tech were the co-coaches of the year.
Oklahoma State’s Jeffrey Carroll, who averaged 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, was a third team selection.