Buddy Hield Projects Big Things for Sooners’ Top Recruit Trae Young

Mar 13, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) during the third quarter against the Orlando Magic at Golden 1 Center. The Kings defeated the Magic 120-115. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) during the third quarter against the Orlando Magic at Golden 1 Center. The Kings defeated the Magic 120-115. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Buddy Hield says the Oklahoma Sooners should be drastically different – translated to mean “much better – next season, and that OU’s top recruit, Trae Young, will be the difference maker.

Jul 10, 2016; North Augusta, SC, USA; Mokan Elite player Trae Young (11) drives to the basket while being defended by PSA Cardinals player Cole Anthony (2) during the first half of the Nike Peach Jam Finals at the Riverview Park Activity Center. Mokan won 93-65. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; North Augusta, SC, USA; Mokan Elite player Trae Young (11) drives to the basket while being defended by PSA Cardinals player Cole Anthony (2) during the first half of the Nike Peach Jam Finals at the Riverview Park Activity Center. Mokan won 93-65. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports /

Hield, an Oklahoma All-American and Wooden and Naismith Award winner who led the Sooners to college basketball’s promised land, the Final Four, a year ago, was in Oklahoma City this weekend for an NBA game between the hometown Thunder and his Sacramento Kings.

Hield and his teammates came up on the short end of a 110-94 score against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he told 247Sports OU Insider Joey Helmer that Lon Kruger and the Oklahoma basketball won’t come up short like they did much of the current season with the highly talented Young in the fold and on the floor.

“He’s special,” Hield told Helmer, talking about Young. “He’s going to be great,” Hield said. “He has the confidence. He has the swagger. He has it. You know once you have it – he’s got that ‘it’ mentality.  So no question he’ll do great.”

“He has the confidence. He has the swagger. He’s got that ‘it’ mentality.” –Former OU star Buddy Hield on top-recruit Trae Young

“It was a disappointing year for us,” Hield said speaking about his former team.

“It was a tough year to watch, but I know Coach Kruger will do a good job next year, and guys still got to grow up some more and learn and get better and just play together and for each other and play harder.”

Hield began his rookie season in the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans, who selected the former OU star with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft last spring. Midway through his rookie season, Hield was traded to the Kings, along with another teammate and a first- and second-round pick in the 2017 draft, in return for DeMarcus Cousins and another player.

The former Sooner star is averaging 9.4 points this season in the NBA and three rebounds per game in 21 minutes of action.

The highly recruited Young, a McDonald’s All-American and five-star recruit, had narrowed his final selection down to three schools: Oklahoma, Kansas and Oklahoma State. He averaged 43 points a game his senior season at Norman North High School.