Final Four: Buddy Hield On Winning Oscar Robertson Trophy, Breaking Down The Wildcats


Friday, April 1st 2016, 6:01 pm
By: John Holcomb


Each of the four teams has a go-to guy, someone they've been able to count on to get this far. But there's no star like OU's Buddy Hield, and no one comes into this weekend playing any better.

After losing out to Michigan State's Denzel Valentine for AP National Player of the Year Friday morning, the Sooner senior was named the winner of another national award, the Oscar Robertson trophy, and the Big O a.k.a. Oscar Robertson was on hand for the announcement.

"I think you have even greater days in you in the pros," said Robertson. "It's amazing how well you've adapted to college basketball and your mental attitude on the court has been tremendous."

Hield added, "It is an honor to accept this award in front of all these people. I couldn't have done it without all my teammates so I'm happy to accept the award, and coming from Oscar Robertson means a lot."

Hield is also unfazed by all the talk about how these huge stadiums cause problems for long range shooters. Instead, he says it reminds him of home.

"I've shot in a lot of big areas, whether it's in a park or wherever I'm at,” stated Hield. “You know, you see a lot of ground and everything out there in the park."

The thing that Jay Wright admires the most about Hield is his intelligence mixed with his quickness on the court.  

"Well, the first thing is I felt we had a little advantage there and I hear Buddy Hield say last night 'I play all the time outside in the Bahamas, so it's the same for me.' I was like damn that was a really good answer," said Wright. "He was smart about that."

On the other end, OU will have to deal with the Wildcats' size inside.

The Sooners hope Hield will be at his 'Steph Curry best' Saturday afternoon when they take on Villanova. 

During the Friday open practices, I got a good look and a decent feel for each team's demeanor.

"We want them to look around,” explained OU head coach Lon Kruger. “We want them to take it in, yet not lose focus on winning a two-game tournament as they've done the last two weekends. This group's done a good job of that."

Back in December, the Sooners ran away from the Wildcats in Pearl Harbor, and OU has reached this point relying mainly on outstanding outside shooting to go along with a lot of experience.

Villanova counters with good guards in Ryan Arcidiacano and Kris Jenkins, but the Cats also have a big weapon in Daniel Ochefu, a 6'11" senior who's healthy at the right time.

"We have a weapon there,” said Wright. "They know it. They defended him well in Hawaii. I think he's gotten a lot better."

Ochefu has been better in the Tournament than in the regular season. He's averaging 12.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 67 percent from the field. He had eight points and ten rebounds in the loss to OU back in December.

In that game, Villanova made only 4-of-32 three-point attempts while the Sooners were 14-of-26 from long range. That likely won't happen again. 

Tip-off is at 5:09 p.m. CT Saturday.