Lloyd Noble Center (Home of the Sooners)

When Jeff Capel was fired by Oklahoma in 2011, the athletic department started looking for a new basketball coach. The search ended by hiring a man who previously took 4 different schools to the NCAA tournament. On April 1, 2011, Lon Kruger accepted the head coaching job at Oklahoma. A highly respected person, Kruger brought instant credibility back to Norman. Kruger’s first year on the job resulted in a 15-16 record. It was time to hit the recruiting trail and find The Best Buddy.

One of his recruiting trips took him to a small high school in Wichita,Kansas. Sunrise Christian Academy was home to an 18 year old student who was born in the Bahamas. What happened next changed the Oklahoma basketball program forever. On September 23, 2013, Kruger landed what would become his most important recruit he has signed since he has been at Oklahoma. His name? Buddy Hield.

Off the basketball court, Buddy Hield is a soft spoken 22 year old man with a sweet Mid-Western/Bahamian demeanor. On the court he is a changed man. He is as ferocious and intense player you will see on any level of basketball who looks to dominate his competition. And dominate he surely has. The 6’4″ Shooting Guard averaged 16.5 points per game as a sophomore. He played even better as a junior, averaging 17.4pts and 5.4reb a game, while leading the Sooners to the Sweet 16. After being named the Big-12 Conference Player of the Year, he put his name into the NBA Draft.


While Hield would have been drafted in the 2015 NBA Draft he eventually took his name out of the NBA Draft pool and decided to return to Norman, Oklahoma for one more season. He had unfinished business to attend to. What Hield has done in his senior season are how legends are made. A 46 point performance at hated rival Kansas. A standing ovation by the Kansas fans followed. This was just the beginning.Oklahoma_Sooners_logo.svg

Hield has been all but unstoppable. He is currently averaging 25.4pts, 5.7reb, and 2 assists a game. The Sooners captain has played exceptional in the NCAA tournament and has put the Big-12 school into the Final 4. He is the favorite for National Player of the Year. His stock has skyrocketed all the way to where he is now a consensus top 10 pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. Some of the numerous awards that Hield has won have been:

  • 2x Big 12 Player of the Year (2015- 2016)
  • 2x First Team All Big-12 (2015-2016)
  • First Team All-American (Sporting News- 2016)
  • Sporting News College Player of the Year (2016)



As Buddy Hield leads the Oklahoma Sooners into Houston and this years Final 4 it will be bittersweet for Head Coach Lon Kruger. No matter what happens Lon Kruger will always cherish the day he went to Sunrise Christian Academy. What he ended up receiving was a player who will go down as one of the best ever to wear a Sooner jersey as well as a player who will have that same jersey hung up on the rafters of OU’s Lloyd Noble Center. He will accomplish his goal of making the NBA. Isn’t that what dreams are made of?


This article was previously published on 3-28-16.




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4 thoughts on ““THE BEST BUDDY””

  1. Robert Junk says:

    Great article on a great player and even better human being. Buddy was a true example of what college athletics should be about. As a KU fan, I remember that performance and I also remember the standing ovation afterwards. Just a tremendous performance and an even better basketball game against two number one teams. How he got under Bill Self radar I will never know.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      I appreciate your comments. That game is still fresh in my memory as it was one of the better performance I have seen in a few years. Kansas fans are so passionate about their team and it was great to see them applaud a player from another team. It showed class. Coming out of high school, Hield wasn’t considered a 5-star prospect. He was very good but really improved his game once he got to Oklahoma. If you look at Self’s recruiting classes from the past 4-5 years, he is getting top of the line recruits.


  2. Funkydunc says:

    Before reading this article, I must confess I had not heard of Buddy Hield. It seems that since he was drafted as the #6 pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, he has gone from strength to strength.

    I notice that last month, December 2016, he was the NBA’s rookie of the month. USA today has nominated him for rookie of the year consideration. He has really developed well.

    It is a shame that the #1 overall pick, Ben Simmons, has been injured and not really featured for the 76ers. But time will tell to see how he goes. By the way, which is your team in the NBA?


    1. Rob Giannotti says:


      You made some really good points. Hield started off the season slow but has played much better lately. It rally is a shame that Ben Simmons is injured. I was really looking forward to see him play in the NBA this year as he is very gifted. It looks the Philadelphia is going to be very cautious with him and will keep him out for the rest of the year. I am from New Jersey, so I like to watch the Nets and Knicks. They are 2 teams that have struggled a lot in recent years. In my opinion, if you were to watch an NBA game, I would recommend watching the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. These are the 2 best teams in the NBA as well as the most entertaining.


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