Nov. 9, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger announced Wednesday that high school seniors Buddy Hield and Jelon Hornbeak, both ranked in the top 100 nationally by Rivals.com, have signed national letters of intent and will be freshmen at OU in 2012-13.
Hield is a 6-4, 190-pound guard originally from the Bahamas who attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., just outside of Wichita. He averaged 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season, his first year in the United States, while shooting .446 from 3-point range (82-for-184). Hield led Sunrise to a 24-4 record and a National Association of Christian Athletes national championship, and was named tournament MVP.
Rivals.com ranks Hield as the nation's No. 94 senior and as the 17th-best shooting guard.
"Buddy is an athletic wing with a refreshing attitude, in terms of his great personality on the floor," said Kruger. "He loves to play, he loves to compete. He runs the floor very well. He's a scorer who has a passion for the game and will be a great addition to our program.
"He's a good perimeter shooter, but also a slasher who gets into the paint and finishes opportunities. He's more of a scorer at this point than a shooter. He just knows how to get the ball in the hole."
Sunrise Christian head coach Kyle Lindsted raved about Hield.
"He's as outgoing on the basketball court as he is socially when you meet him," said Lindsted. "He's very aggressive on the court, kind of a stats stuffer. He's going to make a lot of stats for you. He's going to shoot it well, he's going to slash to the bucket, he's a very good offensive rebounder.
"The biggest thing about Buddy that separates him from other top-tier kids is that he brings energy to everybody else. Everyone on his team will get better as a result of Buddy. He's that kind of kid and has that kind of infectious personality. Whatever team he's on, I just have to believe that team will be competitive and will be relevant."
Added Lindsted, "Wherever Buddy is, that's where you want to be. He's a great player, but he's also hilarious and is just so much fun to be around. He just makes things happen."
Hornbeak is a 6-4, 185-pounder who attends Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas, one of the country's top high school teams. He is ranked No. 89 nationally by Rivals.com and is regarded as the 16th-best shooting guard in the country. Last year, he helped his team to a 30-6 record and to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 4A state title.
Said Kruger, "Jelon's a versatile combo guard who plays point and off (the ball) for his high school team, a very highly regarded Grace Prep squad. He has the ability to score, is a good defender and is used to winning all of his life. We're very excited to have him and, like Buddy, will be a great addition."
Grace Prep head coach Ray Forsett said Hornbeak thrives both on and off the basketball court.
"First and foremost, OU's getting a great kid," said Forsett, "a kid who works hard every day; before practice, after practice, in the weight room. He loves to do the little things. He's a real tough, gritty kid. As far as his skill set, he loves to mix it up. He can do it all; pass it, shoot it, get to the cup. OU's getting a heck of a player and a heck of a kid. He takes care of his academics and will be a true student-athlete there."
Forsett said Hornbeak averaged 10.7 points per game as a junior for a very talented and deep Grace Prep team, as well as 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.