Trae Young prepared to face criticism, 'mental health challenges'
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

Atlanta Hawks rookie guard Trae Young's past year has run the full gamut of the highs and lows of being a high-level athlete. Remarkably, his prodigious rise to prominence hasn't derailed a focus on one particular aspect of his well-being: mental health.

"I'm very aware of the mental health challenges (ahead of me)," Young told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. "I understand there will be a lot on my plate, like there has been for DeMar (DeRozan)."

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, opened up about his struggles with depression last season, helping bring greater attention to the league's on-going conversation about the need for proactive plans that cater to both physical and mental wellness.

Young was regarded relatively lightly as the No. 23 recruit of his college recruiting class, per the 2017 ESPN 100, but quickly became a human highlight reel with his combination of savvy passing and long-range shooting assaults. Despite helping Oklahoma start the season 14-2, however, the Sooners finished the year 4-12, flaming out in the first round of both their conference tournament and March Madness.

Even while leading the nation with 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game, many pundits were quick to tab Young as a potential bust at the professional level - criticism the 19-year-old has learned to block out to the best of his abilities.

"Of course it's tough," said Young. "I just go back to the hotel and relax, not even turn on the TV, because I know they will be talking about me. (The criticism) isn't gonna help me. I've tuned out social media because that's a place that can really bring you down if you pay too close attention to what everyone is saying. So I don't."

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Trae Young prepared to face criticism, 'mental health challenges'
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