No. 8 Texas Tech quite familiar with No. 9 Oklahoma's standout (Jan 09, 2018)
NORMAN, Okla. -- Trae Young was an important recruit for Texas Tech.
So when Chris Beard was hired by the Red Raiders in April 2016, one of his first calls was to the legacy recruit who was living in the back yard of one of Tech's Big 12 rivals.
A few days later, he made an in-home visit to the five-star point guard.
Beard had an edge -- Young's father, Rayford, had starred with the Red Raiders from 1996 to 2000 -- but it wasn't quite enough to get over the attraction of playing for his hometown school.
In the end, Young picked Oklahoma over Texas Tech among others and has turned into a sensation as a freshman, leading the nation in both scoring and assists.
On Tuesday night, Young will face his father's alma mater for the first time when the No. 9 Sooners host No. 8 Texas Tech at Lloyd Noble Center.
"It's fun," Trae Young said. "It's going to be interesting. I'm still trying to figure out what color shirt my dad is going to be wearing. ... I grew up a big Red Raiders fan so it's going to be fun playing against them."
Young almost dismissed Texas Tech as a possibility when Tubby Smith left to go to Memphis.
But Beard's phone call, and his continued pursuit, at least gave Young pause.
"He tried so hard and I have a lot of respect for him," Young said. "He's a competitor. He's just like me -- he loves to win and hates to lose. So it's going to be a dogfight."
Beard said he understood the kind of transformational player that Young could be.
"I think all of us who knew Trae knew he was capable of doing this," Beard told the Tulsa World. "But it's been really impressive that he's been able to play at this level, this consistently, this early in his college career."
This is far more than a novelty, though, for these teams.
Texas Tech is tied with West Virginia for the Big 12 lead and is 14-1 with an eight-game winning streak.
Oklahoma is 12-2 and coming off a loss at West Virginia in which Young scored 29 but was held to five assists, tying a season low. The game is the third in four games for the Sooners against a top-10 opponent.
The Red Raiders have a defense that is among the best in college basketball, holding opponents to 59.2 points per game. The Sooners are averaging a Division I-best 94.4 points per game.
"They're just aggressive," Young said. "They do a lot of things well. They're very smart, they have a lot of veterans on their team who've been through all this so it's going to be tough because they like to grind it out, they like to keep games close, keep games low scoring.
"We put up a lot of points, so I've got to know how to manage the game ... and get everybody involved and do what we've continually been doing."