What do you call a future NBA lottery pick who reels off eight three-pointers in the Elite Eight? “New Kobe.”
Buddy Hield’s Oklahoma Sooners teammates have bestowed that nickname upon him as the senior shooting guard continues his hot shooting in March. It also helps that the two recently met up at the tournament.
“He’s been Kobe since I came here,” center Jamuni McNeace said after the Sooners’ 80–68 win, according to the Associated Press. “He plays like Kobe, he’s competitive like Kobe, he scores like Kobe. He gets buckets. Kobe gets buckets, Buddy gets buckets.
“I feel like Kobe inspired the New Kobe to turn it up and that’s why he started going off and making all those points. Hopefully Kobe comes to the Final Four. We’re going to need that motivation.”
Hield is hesitant to draw the nickname, let alone the comparison, to Kobe.
“I’m not Kobe Bryant and they should not compare me,” Hield said. “I’m far away from him. I just make shots. it’s kind of cool, but me and Kobe are in two different classes and I don’t need to be compared to him.”
Hield absolutely went off on Saturday, scoring 37 points in Oklahoma’s win over Oregon. He was 13 of 20 from the field, and eight of 13 from three.
– Kenny Ducey