From the Atlanta Tipoff Club
HOUSTON – After spearheading the Sooners’ postseason run to the Final Four, University of Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield has been named the 2016 James A. Naismith Trophy winner as the most outstanding men’s college basketball player, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.
Hield, who becomes the second Sooner to claim the award (Blake Griffin, 2009), was honored at the Naismith Awards Brunch delivered by UPS earlier today at The Hobby Center for Performing Arts in downtown Houston. The other Naismith Trophy finalists were Malcolm Brogdon (University of Virginia), Tyler Ulis (University of Kentucky) and Denzel Valentine (Michigan State University).
The two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, and two-time All Big 12 first team member, was first among Power 5 players in scoring (25.4 ppg). He is the only player in the country to average 25.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Hield notched 12 30-point games and 20 25-point games this season. Hield was named an Academic All-Big 12 performer for the second consecutive season.
With Hield’s recognition, Oklahoma joins an elite group of college basketball powerhouses with multiple Naismith Trophy winners, including Duke University (7), UCLA (5), University of North Carolina (3), University of Virginia (3), Indiana University (3) and the University of Texas (2). Virginia’s three awards were all won by star center Ralph Sampson from 1981-1983, one of two men to win the Naismith Trophy three times (Bill Walton, UCLA, 1972-74).
The Big 12 Conference claims its fifth Naismith Trophy winner, following Danny Manning (University of Kansas, 1988), T.J. Ford (University of Texas, 2003), Kevin Durant (Texas, 2007) and Griffin.
Hield was selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, which based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2015-16 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States.
“Buddy’s passion, enthusiasm and team-first attitude have been so consistent all season, said Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger. “Obviously his play on the floor was remarkably high, especially in those crunch-time moments in ballgames. I couldn’t be more pleased for Buddy to win the Naismith Trophy because of all the time and investment spent developing his skills and abilities each year.”
“I’m extremely honored and grateful to accept the Naismith Trophy. None of this would have been possible without my teammates and coaching staff pushing me every single day,” said Hield. “I also want to thank my family and friends for all of their support over the years. This was an extremely special season at OU, and one that I’ll cherish forever.”
“In an era when basketball is saturated with incredible talent, Buddy Hield found a way to stand out this season,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “His leadership and accomplishments were noticed by our voters, and we’re proud to call him a Naismith Trophy winner.”
Other notable Naismith Trophy winners have included Larry Bird (1979, Indiana State University), Michael Jordan (1984, University of North Carolina), David Robinson (1987, United States Naval Academy) and last year’s winner, Frank Kaminsky (University of Wisconsin).