Farewell to Trae Young and Good Riddance to the Oklahoma Sooners

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How can someone with poetry flowing through his game like Trae Young operate within something as horrific as the Oklahoma Sooners?

The world might never know, but good lord should we all be thankful that entire debacle of a clusterfudge is over.

Don’t get it wrong, either. For those who are thirsty for stars in the land of college basketball, the sport lost its sole household name to the Rhode Island Rams on Thursday. The one name, come hell or high water, even Charles Barkley can say without faking the funk.

The rest of it, though — America agrees it can be kept. The entire Oklahoma team, save for Young, in all its disgusting lowliness. It’s disregard to take advantage of beautiful passes, an unwavering need to avoid providing a helping hand, this unsettling desire to search but not destroy.

Bluh. Good riddance. Be happy the Rams got the Sooners out of the paint.

How Rhode Island, the better team, defeated Oklahoma isn’t all that shocking. While few had 3-star freshman from Philadelphia named Fatts Russell pegged as the huge impact player, college basketball fans knew the Rams were supposed to win. An upset this was not.

Aside: Fatts Russell (aka Daron) became a classic March Madness name on Thursday. A kid who shot under 40 percent from the floor and below 30 percent from deep during the regular season can now write his own ticket. The combination of his performance, as well as his name kindling the spirit of some crime noir pulp novel, stole the show.

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What does matter, kind of, is how Oklahoma lost. Not because the Sooners did lose or anything. But due to how it was a tremendous representation of OU’s entire season. A perfect summary of 32 games in only 45 minutes of action.

The Sooners came out hot, with Young making his first four attempts from the field, then fatigue began to set in on the nation’s best shooting, thinnest haired guard. As Young’s quick start, middle-game fizzle began to take form, so did his teammates’ usual inability to have any ability in helping the cause.

Brady Manek, who should ultimately be a good player, was cost prohibitive; Kristian Doolittle, who was awesome in spurts, ultimately lived up to his surname; Christian James should have just stayed back in Norman; and so on.

It just wasn’t good. In the immortal, lazy words of the aforementioned Barkley, it actually was “Trae Young and dem boys.”

This is March?

That was Oklahoma basketball.

Oklahoma was like an up-and-down television series that featured a great leading character, with promising actors in supporting roles, yet lacking any connectivity with important plot points. In the world Trae Young deserved, even if he had to go out swinging, he’d play the role of Walter White — the polarizing, yet somehow redeemable figure who managed to hold your attention through some of the awful that was happening around him.

Young did go out like White; dead, flat on his back and with the heroics coming in handy at the right times, but without the fitting story arc happening around him for the season.

Instead of getting that wholly fulfilling television series, we got something closer to an excellent product that overstayed its welcome.

No. Trae Young should forever be welcome at the collegiate ranks. It’s the rest of the Sooners, coach included, who resembled The Walking Dead in a world after Shane kicked the bucket.

Still, the Trae Young season — and, likely, series — finale was fitting.

He didn’t get to steal the show. A cleverly named guest star from the Rams showcasing an incredible set of stones did that instead. What we did get, though, was the hero fighting until the end in the middle of a fire happening around him.

He was Ben Foster in Alpha Dog, having come out of nowhere to emerge as a star, surrounded by other names that headlined the marquee to start the show. Unfortunately, the overall end product remained more rotten than milk left out in the hot August sun despite his wonderful performance. 

People questioned how and why the Sooners made the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday despite OU’s awful finish to the season (OU did not win a game away from Norman in 2018). They shouldn’t have. The Big Dance is merely a television show and Trae Young was the biggest name attached to this year’s product.

He lived up to our expectations yet again. Unfortunately, so did his teammates.

Just the Fatts, ma’am.