Teams win championships, but on most occasions, these teams have at least one player who makes the ultimate difference on their path to a title! Leading up to this year’s tournament, I will look at a number of players who should have a major impact on the road to a national championship. Bracketball’s first “Primetime Player” of 2016 is Oklahoma G Buddy Hield.
Buddy Hield, G #24
6-4, 215 lbs
26.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.4 BPG
52.0% FG, 52.0% 3PT, 90.1% FT
A major contributor from the moment he stepped on campus in Norman, Buddy Hield is the perfect example of a player who has used his entire college eligibility to become a better basketball player, and in the process, has become an elite professional prospect.
Hield is without question one of the best all-around players in the nation. The 6’4″ guard from the Bahamas is a lethal shooter, a terrific slasher and a willing passer and board-crasher. Buddy can do it all, and he proved that last week against #1 Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Hield exploded for 46 points on 13-23 shooting (8-13 3PT) with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He is not perfect though, as he turned the ball over 5 times, including on an inbound pass late in the 3rd overtime, allowing Kansas to extend their lead.
Draft Express’s Mike Schmitz posted this video, analyzing Hield’s performance against Kansas:
As you can see in the video, Hield is a fantastic offensive talent. He has a very quick trigger, which allows him to get off shots before the defender can bother him. He is also great in transition, where he can drive it to the hole and finish, dish it to an open teammate, or even hit a pull up jump shot with ease. Hield crashes the boards better than most guards, and is able to get his team lots of second opportunities.
There are things that he struggles with, namely turnovers and defense. Because he is asked to do so much, sometimes Hield forces things, which leads to turnovers, as happened numerous times in the Kansas game. He also has a tendency to lose focus on the defensive end, leading to easy scoring opportunities for his opponents.
While he does have some aspects of his game that could use some work, Buddy Hield has easily been one of the best players in the country this season, and he is probably the early leader in the clubhouse for Naismith Player of the Year. He is on pace for career highs in points, rebounds and assists, and his 3PT FG percentage is up 28.3% from his freshman year.
Oklahoma has been good for the last few years, but with this new and improved Buddy Hield, the Sooners are a legitimate championship contender. Look for Hield to be a major player in March.
I’d like to take a moment to thank everybody who has been supporting Bracketball through the first few days of its existence! I am doing this for my love of the sport, and I hope you are all enjoying the content! Come back tomorrow for my first Bracketology of the season!