Tulsa World - - Sports - Cody Staven­hagen 918-581-8384 cody.staven­hagen @tul­saworld.com Twit­ter: @CodyS­taven­hagen

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.

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