Trace Young: Creation, life, basketball (in that order)


Collegian | Reuel Indurkar

Guard Trace Young (0) and the Colorado State University men’s basketball team celebrate a 3-pointer scored at the University of Colorado Boulder away game Dec. 8, 2022.

Braidon Nourse, Sports Editor

“Okay, here’s the vision,” said Trace Young, Colorado State University men’s basketball guard, about his newest idea for a short video. “The theme would be like kind of going against the grain, you know what I’m saying? Like living differently than other people.”

As this is the case for Young, he would be the first to tell you: It’s not all about basketball.


Sure, it took years of late nights and sacrifice on the court to get into an NCAA Tournament-qualifying Division I program as a basketball player. But Young puts the “there’s more to life than sports” principle into action.

“People can watch what I create and get goosebumps or feel motivated. Whatever the feeling may be, I can affect what people feel, and I just thought that was a cool idea.” -Trace Young, CSU men’s basketball guard

Young was interested in capturing his life on film from a young age, whether it was recording the video games he played, sports, music or anything else happening in his life. In grade school, he picked up a camera for the first time — that is, if you can call an iPod Touch a camera. 

Not long after he started, Young received a perfect Christmas gift for his passion: a GoPro. Later on, he downloaded more advanced editing software in Final Cut Pro.

“I started getting better with editing, color grading and all that stuff,” Young said. “That’s when I really fell in love with not just making videos but understanding how cool it is that I can make something to make other people feel a certain type of way. People can watch what I create and get goosebumps or feel motivated. Whatever the feeling may be, I can affect what people feel, and I just thought that was a cool idea.”

Creating content is a hobby that’s stuck with him to this day. He runs an Instagram account named “tracecreate” with just under 2,000 followers that is dedicated to his creative work, including pieces involving his life outside of being an athlete, from his musical endeavors and cinematography to his relationship with God.

But don’t let that take away from Young’s freakish athletic ability. Though the guard from Austin, Texas, only averages a couple of minutes per game on CSU’s guard-heavy team, just to be on a Division I men’s basketball roster is an accomplishment only an estimated 1% of high school players achieve. Gather up 99 of the best high school hoopers you know, and Young is likely leaps and bounds better than all of them.

Speaking of leaps and bounds, if there’s one athletic accomplishment that can’t be taken from Young, it’s his all-time CSU record for maximum vertical jump. At a nearly inhuman 46 inches, his vertical leap would be the second highest in NBA Draft Combine history, only behind Keon Johnson’s 48-inch jump in 2021.

“Have you ever dunked before? It’s so fun,” Young said. “I remember being in like third grade and just being obsessed with being able to dunk.”

And so the workouts began. Young’s father found out about his wish and didn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand, giving Young exercises to increase his jumping power.


“(My dad) literally just Googled how to jump higher, printed it off and gave it to me,” Young said. “I did it religiously. I remember every time I came home from the bus stop in third grade, I’d drop my backpack right by this tree, and I’d just do like a hundred box jumps on this bench.” Between eighth grade and his freshman year of high school, he finally flushed his first dunk.

Through keys on the piano and strings on the guitar, Young is also able to stay busy through music. Around the same time his jumping infatuation started was when he touched a piano for the first time and started to learn. At the time, though, it wasn’t just about keeping busy.

“I did struggle with some anxiety stuff when I was younger,” Young said. “I didn’t really know why. … Music was just one of the ways, like a natural relaxant. We had this piano, and I would just play all the time. At night, like 1 a.m., if I couldn’t sleep, I’d be playing the piano, and my family didn’t mind.”

After all Young has experienced and accomplished, he’s taken the time to give back and help out in his community. Growing up in southern Texas, he’s no stranger to disasters in his own backyard, like yearly hurricanes that rip through thousands of homes in the region. 

Through his church and with his mother, Young got to work — volunteer work that is. Every summer growing up, when Young didn’t have much to do, his mother would get him up and out in the community to help others in need, especially during hurricane season. It’s a part of home he wishes followed him to Fort Collins.

Though Young is majoring in business at Colorado State, he’s still unsure of what he wants to do after graduating. But after some thought into the matter, his answer was simple: “I’d love to travel.” So much so, he nearly chose it over basketball.

“I almost gave basketball up to go do Semester at Sea my freshman year,” Young said. “One of my dreams at the time was to go outside the country, experience different things and capture it all with my ‘tracecreate’ stuff, you know, all while studying.”

“For a lot of my teammates and other players around me, it’s all about improving their game on the court,” Young said. “Obviously, that’s great, and that’s always the goal, but that’s not really it for me. There’s other things for me here.”

Reach Braidon Nourse at or on Twitter @BraidonNourse.