After losing to Denzel Valentine for AP Player of the Year, Buddy Hield took home college basketball’s highest honor Friday night. The Wooden Award is another Player of the Year award but holds more weight because of the imprint that coach John Wooden left on the game.
Hield, a senior from the University of Oklahoma, became the third-straight four-year player to take home the honor: Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky last year, and Creighton’s Doug McDermott the year before that. His competitors for the award included fellow seniors Denzel Valentine (MSU), Malcolm Brogdon (UVA), and Brice Johnson (UNC), and sophomore standout Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) was in the conversation also. He joined Blake Griffin, who won the award in 2009, as the only other Sooner to receive the honor.
After making the decision to return for his senior year, Hield was able to lead the Sooners to the Final Four, where they would lose to the eventual champs, the Villanova Wildcats. “Buddy Buckets” became his moniker as Hield simply dominated in almost every game this season. he averaged 25 points per game this season and did so with stratospheric shooting percentages. Overall, Buddy shot 50% from the field, a lethal 47% from three, and 88% from the line.
In the first tournament game, Hield tallied 27 against CSU-Bakersfield and followed it with 36 against VCU — including 29 in the second half after one of VCU’s players started talking trash towards Buddy. To get to the Final Four, Hield poured in 37 points against the Oregon Ducks. His career, however, would come to a horrible end. Oklahoma got pummeled by Villanova in the Final Four and lost 95-51. Hield recorded just nine points in that game.
His draft stock improved exponentially and Hield, arguably, has made a case for a team to consider him as the number one overall pick.
The women’s Wooden Award was handed over to Breanna Stewart, who led UConn to their fourth-straight National Title and cemented them as one of the premier dynasties in the history of sports. She averaged 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, and shot a staggering 58% from the floor.
Other award winners from the men’s side include:
Tyler Ulis - Bob Cousy Award (best PG)
Buddy Hield - Jerry West Award (best SG)
Denzel Valentine - Julius Erving Award (best SF)
Georges Niang - Karl Malone Award (best PF)
Jakob Poeltl - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (best C)