Buddy Hield and Ben Simmons square off as PoY contenders

Two of the best players in the country face off as Oklahoma tries to remain the country's top team.

Outside of a few camps during the summer, Oklahoma All-American guard Buddy Hield hasn’t seen much of LSU’s Ben Simmons – the favorite as the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Hield catches a few of LSU’s games when he can in between workouts, watching Simmons’ 30-plus point performances and the potential NBA star’s ability to pass, rebound and score.

Hield hasn’t taken much time out of his busy schedule to scout Simmons either, knowing that Saturday’s matchup is as much about Oklahoma trying to remain as the No. 1 team in the country as it is about two of the top player of the year contenders.

Just don’t try and tell his Twitter timeline that.

“That’s all I’ve been seeing in my Twitter mentions,” Hield said. “That’s all I’ve been seeing: ‘I can’t wait for Buddy Hield vs. Ben Simmons. It’s a great game for college basketball, a lot of hype to it: Two of the best players in college playing.

“Of course, they’re going to blow it up so it’s going to be fun.”

The two have crossed paths at the Adidas and Nike Camps, competing against each other and even talking trash – something the Hield is well-known for doing.

“It’s fun,” Hield said. “Ben is a cool dude. I like him.”

There’s not much to not like.

The 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 19.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He’s widely regarded as the almost guaranteed No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He’s explosive on the face-up and has the athleticism of a much smaller forward.

He can score with both hands and can run the floor like a guard.

Hield is obviously having his own stellar season.

He’s the only player in the country shooting better than 50 percent from the field and from behind the 3-point arc while also shooting 90 percent from the free-throw line. He’s averaging 25.9 points per game and just has his seventh 30-point game of the season.

“You can’t worry about the matchup,” Hield said after Oklahoma’s victory against Texas Tech. “It’s about what Oklahoma has to do to beat LSU. He has a lot of good players around him. I’m sure coach will come up with a good game plan. We have to execute and find ways to guard him because he’s a good player. We’re just have to worry about what we have to do to go down there and win a game. We can’t worry about Ben Simmons.”


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories