For the second time in three weeks, Oklahoma standout senior Buddy Hield is the CBS Sports college basketball Player of the Week.
And that’s why he’s atop the race for the national player of the year, too. My colleague, Gary Parrish, listed realistic candidates for player of the year last night. The 1-6 names on that list will be the realistic ones in contention for the Naismith, Wooden, AP, CBS Sports year-end MVP honors. No doubt. But as of now, Hield has a small cushion atop the rest, and if he keeps going at this pace, he’ll win the award with room to spare.
I’m naming Hield POTW of course because he put up a record-tying 46 points at Allen Fieldhouse last Monday night in one of the best regular season games in college basketball history. His second-ranked Sooners took No. 1 Kansas to three OTs, and in the process Hield had 46 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
He followed that up with 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists in OU’s 86-76 home win over Kansas State on Saturday. Hield has gone for 30 or more in six games this season, the most of any player in college hoops. He’s averaging 26.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals.
In his last two games, Hield went 24 for 37 from the field and, specifically, 14 for 23 from 3-point range. He’s shooting 52 percent from the field AND 52 percent from 3-point range! He’s taken 102 treys this season. That ranks 19th-best in the nation, but here’s the thing: Only Michigan’s Duncan Robinson has taken more than 70 3-pointers and ranks ahead of Hield (56.2 percent on 96 shots).
It’s hard to overstate just how big of a step Hield has taken with his overall game. He’s among the most valuable, without question, but through four years at Oklahoma has worked his way to becoming among the most talented in the sport, too.
Oklahoma’s next game comes Wednesday night at rival Oklahoma State.
Previous winners this season of the CBS Sports Player of the Week:
Week 1: Grayson Allen, Duke
Week 2: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Week 3: Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Week 4: A.J. English, Iona
Week 5: Troy Williams, Indiana
Week 6: Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Week 7: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 8: Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa