After his set of performances at EYBL Brooklyn, Trae Young had every right to be upset.
The MOKAN Elite guard played nearly flawless basketball, guiding MOKAN to a 3-0 record while putting up MVP-like numbers in the opening session of 2015.
Ultimately, Young lost a razor-thin MVP vote to PSA Cardinals point guard Quade Green - a very worthy recipient - but that didn’t ease the sting.
Neither did taking home Offensive Player of the Session, Performance of the Session and Team of the Session.
Because Trae Young is the ultimate competitor. Before his EYBL career is over, Young said that one of his goals is to win an individual session MVP. After the disappointing Brooklyn snub, that led him to ask me the following question.
“What more do I have to do?”
Truthfully, the answer was nothing. Young put up numbers comparable to any previous session MVP award winner, and aside from a slightly higher-than-normal turnover rate, it was hard to imagine the 6-foot-1 floor general playing any better.
Flash forward a month, and ‘better’ looks like a drastic understatement when describing Young’s game.
In four Hampton contests - all victories, Young put up arguably the best set of games in his EYBL career. In four wins, the Norman North (Oklahoma) star averaged 25.8 points, 8.8 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals - including the first and only triple-double of the EYBL season - a 19-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist performance against Team United.
Operating alongside one of the most talented rotations on the circuit - including fellow MVP candidate Michael Porter Jr. - Young’s presence on the floor makes all of his teammates better. Blessed with the ability to beat you in numerous different fashions, Young’s play leaves opposing defenses with a choice - either go all-in on trying to stop him, or focus on shutting down Porter and company.
If anything is certain after Hampton, there is no happy medium to that choice. Young - and Porter for that matter - are too good to ‘stop.’ Containing them is doable, but Young has proven that the consequences of trying will likely result in failure.
As good as Young was in Brooklyn, he was that much better in Hampton. He could have easily put up back-to-back triple-doubles to close out the session, finishing the Team United rout with 36 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds.
Young will have every chance to defend his session MVP award in Atlanta, where MOKAN will enter as a Peach Jam favorite with a 10-1 record.
If Hampton is any indication, it’s Young’s award to lose.