MOKAN Elite floor general Trae Young emerged as one of the best all-around offensive players in the EYBL last season, soaring up the rankings into the Top 20 for the Class of 2017. Knowing Young, however, no personal achievement means as much as team success, and he is ready to make up for last year’s Peach Jam exit.
Photo credit: Jon Lopez
“One thing I think I improved on the most from the EYBL last year is my defensive ability and my leadership skills,” said Young. “Last year I averaged 18 points in 4 assists in the EYBL and 20 points and 7 assists in the Peach Jam, but our team didn’t make the Final Four, and I believe it was mostly my fault because I didn’t lead the team on the defensive end and show better leadership.”
Like most stars, Young is his toughest critic. Many who watched MOKAN play last year would probably say that aside from Michael Porter, Jr., Young was the biggest reason for their squad making the Peach Jam field to begin with. Young sees things a bit differently, and vows to take his perceived deficiencies out on the League this year.
“This spring and summer will be different,” Young said. “Stats will take care of themselves, but winning games will be the biggest focus for me as well as being a better leader.”
MOKAN returns its top two scorers from a year ago in Young and Porter, and in addition to a strong supporting cast, Young feels they are in for another successful season. He is ready to take on more of a leadership role this year after his huge 2015.
Photo credit: USA Today
“We have a really deep team this year and some really good players,” Young said about MOKAN’s outlook. “We all push each other in practice and compete at the highest level. But personally, my goal is to make sure that everyone knows what to expect on the EYBL level and be prepared.”
When asked about a potential breakout candidate for MOKAN this year, Young said it was nearly impossible to pinpoint one and has the utmost confidence in everyone on the roster.
“The country is going to be surprised when they see the new guys to 17U EYBL,” said Young. “Guys like Jared Ridder, Elijah Landrum, Carteare Gordon and Jontay Porter. Those are just a few of the names. I can’t say just one player because they all bring something special to our team this year.”
Young is hungry to not only return to Peach Jam, but to win the whole thing. When discussing specific teams or players he is looking forward to facing off against, it was clear that he has developed the killer instinct that is absolutely necessary in the EYBL.
“Last year I was excited about playing specific teams and players and I think it took away from the teams goals,” Young recalled. “I understand this season I will be the HUNTED instead of the HUNTER, so I’m just making sure that me and the team are prepared for the highest level of competition.”
Young’s recruitment has been heating up for awhile now, but with another strong showing this season for MOKAN, he could easily rise into the Top 10 in his class. His elite shooting and playmaking abilities make him a coveted prospect, and it should come as no surprise that the most important aspect of any program he joins at the next level is a winning tradition.
“I’m looking for players and coaches that I can trust and feel like it’s an extended family on campus,” Young said of his ideal school. “ A school that has a chance to win the Final Four every year, and a coach that is going to put his trust in me to be a coach on the floor and lead the team. I am also looking for a school I can see myself going to and making an impact on and off the court from day one.”
A player of Young’s caliber and unique skillset watches many of the great NBA players to take parts of his game from, including Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Steve Nash.
MOKAN would be happy if he could become a combination of those greats, but no matter what they are lucky to have Young running the show. Already proven as an elite talent, Young is ready to show out as a leader for MOKAN both on and off the court.