Oklahoma junior shooting guard Buddy Hield will pass up a strong chance to be drafted in the second round this year to instead return to Oklahoma for his senior year, he announced today through the school. Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks Hield as the 37th-best prospect, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him at No. 41.
The 6’4″ 21-year-old’s production plateaued somewhat this season after a significant jump between his freshman and sophomore years. Still, Hield’s 17.4 points per game this year led the Big 12, as did his 35.9% three-point percentage and 93 made three-pointers. He rebounded well for his size, grabbing 5.4 boards in 32.4 minutes per contest.
Ford points to defense as an area in need of improvement for Hield and suggests he should attack the basket more often. His rate of free-throw attempts per field goal attempt rose from .191 to .261 this season, so continued improvement in that regard figures to help his stock. He’ll have no shortage of exposure next season, with Oklahoma looking strong again for 2015/16 after a run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 this year.