Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield said he wanted to use his performance in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy to earn a spot in LeBron James’ similar event.
Hield did just that and will head to Las Vegas on Tuesday to participate in James’ skills academy this week.
The academy begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday with 30 collegiate players and 80 of the nation’s top high school players. The players will go through a competitive skills workout and 5-on-5 games in the event which is watched by NBA scouts and college coaches.
Hield said playing in Durant’s academy June 27-29 in Washington, D.C., helped prepare him to see how he stacked up against the top collegiate wing players.
“I think I stacked up pretty well,” Hield said in a release.
James’ academy features players of all positions.
“It’s going to be more free than it was at KD’s camp,” Hield said. “I know there are a few other guys from the Big 12 going and I’m looking forward to competing with them.”
Iowa State’s Georges Niang, Kansas’ Perry Ellis and Kelly Oubre, Kansas State’s Marcus Foster and West Virginia’s Juwan Staten are also expected to attend.
Hield averaged 16.5 points per game as a sophomore, hitting a league-best 63 3-pointers in Big 12 play.
Hield said he learned from Durant.
“You know, we miss two or three shots in a row and we get mad at ourselves,” Hield said. “If KD misses two or three, he doesn’t get down on himself. He knows he’s making the next one. He’s just poised and relaxed and that’s one reason he’s the MVP.
“I just enjoyed watching him when he works out and how he takes his time and focuses on making shots. His mind is at a totally different level, trying to win an NBA championship.”
For participating in Durant’s academy, Hield received several items of Nike gear, including a pair of Durant shoes. Hield gave away all but one pair of shoes to his teammates, giving roommate Isaiah Cousins the other pair.
“I feel like they’re the reason I got to go to KD’s camp,” Hield said. “Me wearing all that fancy stuff wouldn’t look good. My teammates should be a part of that, too; like if I’m there, then they’re there too.”