In part one of Bleacher Report’s three-part feature story on Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, college hoops scribe Jason King discussed Young’s meteoric rise to prominence with the Sooners point guard. Prior to this season, Young was a relative afterthought, but since then he’s proven himself as a formidable multi-skilled guard and front-runner for National Player of the Year honors. As he’s developed more name recognition, Young told King that he’s also developed more fans and mentors in high places.
One such mentor is Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul. As the current Patron Saint of undersized NBA point guards, Chris Paul (sorry Isaiah Thomas ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), offered advice to Young, per Bleacher Report.
“It’s fun to watch him play,” Paul says. “He looks like he’s having fun. That’s the biggest advice I give him right now: Just be a college kid and have fun.”
There was one more piece of wisdom from Paul that continues to stick with Young, words that keep him grounded amid all of the hype and fanfare:
“If you’re going to play in this league,” Paul told him, “you’ve got to learn not to be a fan. For these guys, it’s a job, it’s a business. These same people that are tweeting at you now … pretty soon they’re going to be coming at your neck.”
Lonzo Ball learned this firsthand after Patrick Beverley pushed him around on the hardwood during his first week as a pro. Fortunately, Young has the benefit of having a father who’s more comfortable giving his input behind the scenes rather than antagonizing his future opposition. That sound advice is something Steph Curry would echo as well. A decade ago, LeBron James was touting the young, sharpshooting guard from Davidson as a potential NBA prospect.
These days, the roles have switched and Curry is the one in awe of.
“He’s unbelievable,” Curry said. “I call it ‘the flair.’ … When I turn on the game, [I’m] just watching him on the floor, where he is at all times. That kind of magnetism is pretty special in the college game.”
Young can probably consider that a warning as Paul will also be a nemesis on his schedule next season.