Buddy Hield, the Oklahoma basketball team's hottest freshman off the bench, is a constant talker. on the court. As in all the time. Never stops. Or as his teammates sometimes put it, he “just never shuts up.” Sometimes he even adds singing and dancing to that on-court talk.
But so far the freshman guard's been drawing attention not for his smooth talk, but for his buckets. He's currently the team leader in five categories: scoring, scoring average, field goals, field goals made and turnovers.
So imagine one Buddy Hield, then multiply all that jabber by nine.
Then you have the Hield family — four boys, three girls, Buddy's mother and stepfather. A big group of talkers. Well, most of them anyway.
Put almost the entire family of Freeport, Bahamas, natives — one of his brothers, who lives in Arkansas, can't make the trip — in the seats of a basketball arena as Hield enters a game. Eruption of noise. That's what Hield said it will be like the first time the freshman comes off the bench in Orlando, Fla., during the Sooners' first tournament of the season, the Old Spice Classic.
“It's going to give me a lot of energy because I don't want to disappoint them,” Hield said.
Buddy's the fifth child, and the baby boy of the family. He's the biggest talker and the best singer after his mom, according to him.
Buddy comes from a family full of nicknames. He said his sister Nay-Nay is the youngest. She is shy but is breaking out. Then his sister Pepper, they like to laugh together a lot. His brother Vezy, he said, is probably his biggest fan. But they are all motivators for him.
It's been about two years since he last saw some of his brothers and sisters who will be in Orlando. Luckily, his mother came up for his graduation from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, but he said he can't wait to see her and the rest of his family in the stands when Oklahoma opens against UTEP at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Then it's three games in four days. Something Hield's teammate Andrew Fitzgerald said can be exhausting.
“Staying focused,” Fitzgerald, a senior forward, explained as the key to having a good tournament. “You might get distracted by going to Disney World but the main point is stay focused and that's one thing is to win games and the tournament.”
Fitzgerald said he does think having Hield's family in the stands will create an exciting atmosphere, helping the young player off the bench.
In the Sooners' game at UT-Arlington, Hield came off the bench in his first regular-season road game and led the team with 17 points.
“I love the way that he's playing, giving us that boost of energy,” Fitzgerald said.
After two regular-season games, Hield leads the team with an average of 13.0 points per game. And among the team, he still is known as the most talkative. That energy has already helped the Sooners pull to a 2-0 start, and Hield is hoping his family being in the stands in Orlando will only help his energy more.
“It's going to inspire me,” Hield said. “Every bucket I take, I have to make it. My mom, she hates to see me miss shots. And my brother hates when I miss shots and I hate when I miss shots. So I'm not going to want to disappoint them. Every bucket I take, I'm going to have to make.”