Hield returned to Norman this weekend, along with fellow Oklahoma great Blake Griffin, for an alumni banquet Friday and to coach in the Sooners’ annual alumni game Saturday. He looked back to normal, greeting everyone with a smile and obliging anyone who asked for a picture.
That’s not exactly how Hield’s life has been since he was taken with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
“When I walk into a store and somebody recognizes who I am, I try to duck and dodge so they don’t stop me,” Hield said. “Because if one person finds out who you are, then everybody starts coming. It’s cool though. I’ve accepted it. It’s about when you get drafted, everybody in the world knows who you are and it’s hard to hide from everybody.”
Hield’s time management has changed, and he called the last couple months “a roller coaster.” The Pelicans’ coaching staff asked Hield to tone back his pre-game shooting routine – hundreds of shots on game days. He’s not sure that will happen.
Hield hasn’t quite settled in to life in New Orleans, but he’s not settling for anything less than rookie of the year.
“It’s all fun,” Hield said. “It’s what I love to do and what I’ve been working so hard for my whole life. It’s not pressure. It’s fun. It’s something that I look forward, a challenge that I look forward to every day.”
Hield begrudgingly lost to Griffin and team Crimson on Saturday, but Griffin announced a sizeable contribution to Oklahoma on Friday night in order to help renovate the Lloyd Noble Center.
“It’s really about keeping this program and keeping these facilities on par with the rest country,” Griffin said. “As soon as it was brought it, it was something that I immediately interested in and wanted to be involved in. I wanted to be part of the process. I’m excited for to break ground and get going.”
The project is estimated to cost $7 million.
“What Blake did is great. Better facilities for the guys,” Hield said. “When they can train better, get better, education … Hopefully, I do my business in the NBA and sign a big contract like Blake and help out the school.”