It’s Better

by January 05, 2016

Buddy Hield’s monster 46-point game from last night is just another chapter in his solid senior season. His combination of shooting and finishing ability is giving him a solid boost on draft boards across the League. Here’s the piece on Hield we published in SLAM 192.—Ed.

Long before he was a standout at Oklahoma, Buddy Hield had one goal—get to the television first. “We only had one TV in the house and every time basketball came on, I tried to get the TV first,” he says. “I wanted to watch basketball and everyone else wanted to watch cartoons.”

Hield grew up in The Bahamas, so basketball wasn’t as accessible as it is in the States. He needed to wake up early on weekends just to be able to watch college basketball games. But while Hield grew up in a different place than most young basketball fans, his favorite player was as typical as it gets.

“I started watching Kobe Bryant, and he inspired me a lot,” Hield says. “I liked his toughness. He also made tough shots. He made me believe.”

Now Hield is one of the best players in college basketball. The 6-4 guard is the reigning Big 12 POY after averaging 17.4 points per game as a junior, and he returns to school as one of the favorites to take home the Wooden Award for the nation’s top player.

It’s a nation he wasn’t a part of until he moved to Kansas in 2010 to play at Wichita (KS) Sunrise Christian. He called the opportunity a blessing and made sure he worked hard enough to take advantage of it. Although The Bahamas and the Midwest seem worlds apart, the transition has been a seamless one—mainly because of his personality. The talkative nature of The Bahamas has endeared Hield to his classmates at Oklahoma. They’ve given him the nickname “Buddy Love.”

“I like to get to know people,” Hield said. “I’m always smiling, laughing and having fun.”

Hield has brought that personality to the US, and he wants to bring basketball back to The Bahamas. He says it’s not really organized now, and hopes to change that. “When I go back, I try to motivate them,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s a process. We’re still working on the skill set and every year we’re getting better.”