by RENALDO DORSETT

 

Of all the alumni to participate in the Darell Sears Showcase over the years, no name garners more attention and is more critically acclaimed than Buddy Hield.

 

Hield took time out from his busy schedule as he prepares for June’s NBA Draft, to give back to the showcase and address the participants with a few inspirational words.

 

He delivered a message via social media to the scores of camp participants. The former Oklahoma guard and Wooden Award winner told the group of student athletes that he was in their same position not too long ago when the showcase gave him an opportunity to further his career.

 

“I just wanted to congratulate everyone on being there. I also just wanted to wish you guys the best as you started your journey. I know you want to go out there and pursue your dreams and I’m all for it. It all started for me there six years ago and all these things that came to me it didn’t just happen, I had to work for it. I thank God for coach Sears and the showcase and the timing. I’m in a position where everyone wants to be but I couldn’t do it by myself. I had a lot of help, family, a lot of coaches and God as the main focus of my life,” Hield said, “I’m thankful for Coach Sears having this showcase where I was able to go out there and perform. All it takes is two days to play well and it can give you a chance. This has all been a blessing. Continue to be humble and keep working. I had to keep working when I faced adversity. You have to be in the right environment, have the right people around you and believe in your work ethic.”

 

Hield participated in the Sears showcase when he was a member of the Sir Jack Hayward Wildcats. He received a scholarship opportunity to join Kyle Linstead’s Sunrise Christian Academy Buffaloes in Witchita, Kansas and eventually earned a Division I scholarship to join the Sooners.

 

His star studded senior season for the Sooners concluded with a litany of awards including the John R Wooden, Naismith and Oscar Robertson Player of the Year trophies.

 

He was also named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches first-team, a first-team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), Sports Illustrated and USA Today. His list of honours thus far on the year also includes the Sporting News Player of the Year, USBWA District VI Player of the Year, CBS Sports Player of the Year, Big 12 Player of the Year and the All-Big 12 first-team.

 

Hield is projected to be a top five pick in June’s NBA Draft.

 

While his list of accolades on the court are numerous, Hield reminded the students to remain focused on their work in the classroom.

 

“Make sure you stay on top of your books and stay on top of your school work. If you don’t do those things you’re not going to be able to make it in high school or college. You have to keep your grades up because if you don’t perform in the classroom, they’re not going to put you on the court. It’s the most important thing because if you don’t have those grades, you can’t play. School is the priority, you’re a student first and athlete second,” he said, “I hope I can always keep on inspiring you all through this journey. There’s a lot more basketball I have left to play so I’m going to keep on being a role model for you all. I’m just glad to be able to say I’m from the Bahamas and to be in a position where I can assist and give back.”

 

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