For every day that goes by, Young becomes closer to a life where none of that will exist. Either this year or maybe later (Young says he will sit down with coaches and family after the season) Young will go play for an NBA team, likely far away from his family. Dad won't be there to talk after practice. Mom won't be there for laundry. His brother and sisters will grow up without him there to see the dayby-day. He'll make a lot of money and earn it by dealing with even more scrutiny, every game not just a measure of talent but a statement about Trae Young's market value.
The story does not end here. It won't end for a long time.
But as Trae Young nears March Madness and the media swarm begins again, it's as logical a jumping off point as any.
Sunday at Lloyd Noble Center, OU held its annual endof-season banquet. After the glasses clanged and the food disappeared, OU watched the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. The players were set up in front of a big screen, and Young sat in the front row, right there for a line of cameras to see.
As the tournament field was announced in alphabetical order, Young slowly grew tense. He put his head down. He prayed to God and thanked his late grandfather.
Finally, the Oklahoma logo appeared on the screen, and Young's teammates jumped up and down in celebration. Young stayed seated, clenching his fists, shaking his arms, eventually mumbling the words, “We're in it” before joining his team.
Of course, when the footage hit Twitter, everything got dissected. Why was Young so serious? Why didn't his teammates join him? Why did OU even make the tournament?
After the drama was said and done, Young stood by his mother and whispered and embraced, one more dream come true, one more challenge ahead.
Tuesday, Young boarded another flight on the OU jet to Pittsburgh for the most important moment yet in a whirlwind year.
There will be many more flights to come, and for every opportunity there will be equally big costs.