NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield learns daily from one of the best collegiate head coaches in the country in Lon Kruger. This weekend Hield will learn from one of the best players in the world -- reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant.
Hield is one of a handful of collegians and high schoolers who have been selected to participate in the annual Kevin Durant Skills Academy, which will be held Friday through Sunday in Washington, D.C.
According to the academy's website, Durant, who averaged 32.0 points per game this past season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, will host the nation's top 15 collegiate and top 30 high school wing players for five workouts over two-and-a-half days. "Durant will relay to the next generation of wing players what it takes to be named MVP," the site says.
"I'm honored," said Hield, a second-team All-Big 12 honoree as a sophomore. "It's something I really want to do and something that will be good for me; go through drills, see where I am compared to the other top shooting guards in the country.
"KD's a great player. I'm looking forward to what he can teach me."
Last year's Durant Skills Academy roster featured several players expected to be picked in the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft, including Duke's Jabari Parker, Michigan's Glenn Robinson III, Michigan State's Gary Harris, N.C. State's T.J. Warren and Wichita State's Cleanthony Early.
Hield, who admitted he didn't know Durant hosted a skills academy until he received his electronic invitation letter in April on a flash drive in the form of a two-and-a-half-inch gold Nike basketball shoe, said he hopes to parlay a good showing in Washington, D.C., to an invitation to the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, in July. That event features 30 of the top collegiate players in the country.
But first things first for Hield, who says he's been focusing on a variety of areas so far during the offseason.
"This weekend is a chance for me to continue to develop my overall skills," he said. "I've been working to improve my ball-handling, my mid-range jump shot and just be more of an all-around player. I also need to get better at attacking the basket."
Hield started all 33 games as a sophomore last year and led the Sooners with his 16.5 points per game (ranked 10th in Big 12). He also averaged 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals (ranked second in the league) while shooting .445 from the field, .386 from 3-point range (ranked sixth in the conference) and .750 from the free throw line. Hield made 90 3-pointers (the sixth most in single-season school history) and shot .427 from 3-point distance in conference play. He scored at least 15 points in 14 of 18 Big 12 contests.
Last week The Sporting News ranked Hield as the nation's third-best shooting guard heading into the 2014-15 season.
OU begins the regular season when it hosts Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday, Nov. 16.