Buddy Hield is reaching the highest of heights for Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament, carrying them to the Final Four on the strength of his Stephen Curry-like shooting. With a few days left until Hield and the Sooners resume their pursuit of the NCAA Championship, now’s a perfect time to reflect on just how far he’s come. With that in mind, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman visited Hield’s hometown of Freeport in the Bahamas to get a sense of his upbringing.
As you can see from the above picture, Buddy had a humble childhood indeed. He discussed it at length in a piece for The Player’s Tribune, and reflected on how he had to build hoops of his own just to get shots up:
We didn’t even have a real basketball court in the neighborhood until I was 12.
So when I was around 11, I decided to build my own hoop.
Let me just tell you, I wasn’t meant to be a carpenter.
I was determined, though. I would explore abandoned houses for materials. I’d break off pieces of plywood from houses, but they were never the right size or shape. So I’d get a saw and try to cut it, but I was too small to hold it steady. My first few backboards were crazy looking. All sorts of bizarre shapes. Looking back, they were kind of artistic and cool.
A dogged determination has seemingly defined Hield’s entire life, from his amateur carpentry to his incredible work ethic at improving his game over his four years at Oklahoma. Looking past the Final Four, that determination is his greatest asset as a potential lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.