After never attending March Madness, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has attended two games this past week to watch Duke’s Brandon Ingram and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield.
In the Elite 8 against Oregon at the Honda Center, Hield exploded for 37 points and converted on eight of his 13 three-point attempts. After the 80-68 win, the senior told fans to ‘blame it on Kobe’ for his performance as he knew the five-time champion was watching him from the stands.
Following the game, Bryant was ‘blown away’ by Hield’s performance according to Jason King of Bleacher Report:
“Blown away,” Bryant told Bleacher Report. “Blown away.”
In addition, Bryant shared he loves the senior’s intangibles, via King:
“I just love his motor,” Bryant told B/R. “I love his passion and his energy. He puts everything he has into the game. Lots of guys go hard out there, but with him, it’s a on a different level. You can see it on his face. He truly loves every minute that he’s out there.”
During the tournament, Hield has been impressive scoring 27 (CSU Bakersfield), 36 (VCU), 17 (Texas A&M) and 37 (Oregon) points. According to MyNBADraft.com, the senior is projected to be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft.
For the Lakers, they will only be able to keep this year’s draft pick if it lands in the top-three as a result of the Steve Nash trade in 2012. While Ingram or LSU’s Ben Simmons are still considered the top two picks in this draft, it will be interesting to see if Hield is in the conversation if the Lakers land the third overall pick.