Trae Young may be one of the best college basketball players in the country, but his family remains a top priority. Just as it was when he was growing up, Trae’s Sundays involve meeting his family at church followed by lunch as long as he is in town. Trae’s parents, Ray and Candice Young, live just miles away from the Oklahoma campus, and his father is a big reason Trae got into basketball.
Ray did not have an easy path to becoming a top college basketball player and playing professional basketball. The Washington Post detailed his meager beginnings.
Trae’s dad had grown up poor in Texas, seeing interior heating as a luxury and his one sweater-and-jeans outfit something like a uniform, considering how often he wore it. Through force of will and smart maneuvering, he made himself into a popular student and a promising athlete, defying the odds and playing point guard at Texas Tech in the late 1990s.
Ray and Candice were high school sweethearts, eventually raising their family in Norman, Oklahoma where their oldest son would shine on the basketball court.
Learn more about the Young family.
1. Trae’s Father, Ray, Played Basketball at Texas Tech
Basketball runs in the family as Trae’s father was a standout player at Texas Tech. During his college career, Ray averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 37.9 percent from the three-point line. According to ESPN, Ray went undrafted, and spent less than a season with the Houston Rockets. After playing in the NBA for a short time, Ray played in Europe for a number of teams including FC Porto in Portugal during the 2001-02 season.
Candice and Ray were high school sweethearts, and the couple found out Candice was pregnant during Ray’s junior season. According to ESPN, Candice stormed the court with Trae when he was a baby after Ray scored 41 points as Texas Tech upset Kansas during the 1998-99 season. Little did they know Trae would inherit his father’s propensity for scoring.
2. Trae’s Dad Has Oklahoma City Thunder Season Tickets
According to Sports Illustrated, Ray has had Thunder season tickets since the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. Trae would go with his father to games, arriving hours early to watch NBA players’ pregame routine. Now, it is NBA players that are taking notice of Trae’s game. Thunder star Russell Westbrook has been complimentary of Trae’s playing ability.
“He’s put the work in and put himself in a great position to lead a team,” Westbrook told 247 Sports. “…It’s amazing to see him doing such great things.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Trae played on Kevin Durant’s AAU team, and has hung out with Durant at his house. LeBron James posted photos on Instagram of the two of them together at a Nike basketball camp.
3. Trae’s Mother, Candice, Is the Daughter of a Pastor
According to ESPN, Candice is the daughter of a minister, and has passed down the same faith to her children. She texts her children on Saturday night to remind them of the 10 a.m. church service along with a family lunch after the service is over.
“It’s important to me,” Candice explained to ESPN. “If you’re at home, you’re gonna get up. It’s not an option. I feel like that’s the grounding they get at the beginning of the week. It starts you off right.”
The Young family is part of Victory Family Church in Norman.
4. Ray Was a Graduate Assistant at Oklahoma Under Kelvin Sampson & Trae Became the Ball Boy
With a young family, Ray ended his basketball career to take a graduate assistant job under Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma. According to ESPN, Ray used the position to earn another degree, and he left coaching to start a career in medical equipment sales. The Oklahoma coaching position would bring the Young family to Norman, where they would never leave.
Long before he donned a Sooners jersey, Trae was a ball boy for the team where he became friends with Blake Griffin along with other players that played at Oklahoma. The family may have stayed in Norman, but Ray would regularly drive Trae into Texas to face better basketball competition.
“This is what it’s all about,” Ray explained to Sports Illustrated what he said to a young Trae. “Do you wanna just stay in Norman and play with all your friends, or do you really wanna be one of the best?”
5. The Couple Has 4 Children: Trae, Caitlyn, Camryn & Timothy
Trae (19) is the oldest of the couple’s four children. He grew up in Oklahoma with his three siblings: Caitlyn (17), Camryn (15) and Timothy (7). The impact of Trae’s fame has carried over to the other members of the Young family. Ray spoke with ESPN about the impact Trae’s notoriety has had on his children.
“My daughters will tell you,” Ray told ESPN. “People are trying to DM them on social media. It’s nuts.”
According to ESPN, Trae’s sister Caitlyn is a top high school volleyball player who has led her team to back-to-back state titles. She is also taking a few college classes at Oklahoma, and Caitlyn admitted to ESPN that the fame has not gone to her brother’s head.
“We’re lucky he doesn’t let it get to his head,” Caitlyn explained to ESPN. “He’s still sitting at the table, not listening to us, like he did before. Everything is the same.”