by RENALDO DORSETT
As he entered his junior season with the Oklahoma Sooners, expectations loomed high for Buddy Hield and the Grand Bahamian native has delivered.
Hield was recognized yesterday as one of the top players in all of NCAA Division I basketball when the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced its John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25
Hield is one of three players from the Big 12 on the prestigious list.
The 6-4, 212-pound Hield, is averaging 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, shooting 42 percent from the field and 38 percent from three point range.
His point per game numbers ranks third in the conference while his three point shooting ranks sixth and free throw shooting at 84 percent ranks third.
Since conference play began, he has been one of the best players in the Big 12 and has seen his number increase.
In four Big 12 games he has averaged 21.3 points and 3.3 3-pointers per game (shooting .419 from behind the arc), while also pulling down 7.5 rebounds a contest to rank fifth in the league.
He has led the Sooners in scoring nine times in 16 games, including each of the last three contests and four of the last five.
Despite a pair of consecutive losses for the Sooners, Hield has turned in some of his best performances for the season.
In Tuesday night’s 86-65 loss to no.16 ranked West Virginia, Hield finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, both game highs.
He shot 6-13 from the field and 3-7 from three point range.
Prior to that game, Hield scored a career high 31 points as the No.18 ranked Sooners were upset at home by the unranked Kansas State Wildcats, 66-63 Saturday afternoon .Hield made 5-9 from three-point range and also added five rebounds and three steals and also became the 41st member of the Sooners’ 1,000-point club.
Hield and the Sooners look to regain their form in the Bedlam rivalry, Saturday January 17 at 7pm when they host in-state rival, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, broadcast live on ESPN2.
The leading candidates for the Wooden Award will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to the voters on the ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament. Every year, players make the ballot who are not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voting will take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.
WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 25 LIST
Justin Anderson, Virginia
Ron Baker, Wichita State
Ryan Boatright, Connecticut
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s
Tyler Haws, BYU
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
Tyus Jones, Duke
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Jordan Mickey, LSU
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Chasson Randle, Stanford
Terry Rozier, Louisville
D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State
Juwan Staten, West Virginia
Melo Trimble, Maryland
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
Delon Wright, Utah