The second-leading-returning scorer in Big 12 play and the league's leading returner in 3-pointers per game, Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield was voted by the conference's head coaches to the five-man Preseason All-Big 12 Team on Thursday. OU junior forward Ryan Spangler also received votes and was named to the preseason honorable mention squad.
Hield and Spangler are among OU's four returning starters from last year's 23-10 team that finished in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 and earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
A second-team All-Big 12 pick a year ago as a sophomore, Hield averaged a team-high 16.5 points per game, OU's second highest figure in the last 11 years (behind only Blake Griffin's 22.7 average in 2008-09) and made 90 3-pointers (2.7 per game), the sixth most in school history. In conference play, the Freeport, Bahamas, native averaged 17.5 points and a league-high 3.5 treys per contest. He made at least three 3-pointers in 14 of 18 league games.
The 6-4, 212-pound Hield improved dramatically from his freshman year when he shot .388 from the field and .238 from behind the arc. Last season, he posted respective .445 and .386 figures.
Spangler led the Big 12 in rebounding as a sophomore with his 9.6 boards per outing and shot a team-high .584 from the field en route to a 9.6 scoring average. He ranked second in the league with 10 double-doubles and shot 50 percent or better from the floor in 27 of 33 games.
Joining Hield on the first team are Iowa State junior forward Georges Niang, Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis, Kansas State sophomore guard Marcus Foster and West Virginia senior guard Juwan Staten. Ellis and Staten were unanimous picks and Staten was voted the league's preseason player of the year.
Spangler is joined on the honorable mention list by Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash and Texas' Jonathan Holmes, Cameron Ridley and Isaiah Taylor.
Iowa State senior Bryce Dejean-Jones (UNLV transfer) was named the preseason newcomer of the year while Kansas' Cliff Alexander and Texas' Myles Turner were named co-preseason freshmen of the year.
The Sooners start the 2014-15 season with a Nov. 7 home exhibition game against Washburn.
Lon Kruger on Buddy Hield:
"Buddy really had a good summer. From Kevin Durant's camp to LeBron James' camp to the Bahamian national team, he distinguished himself as being one of the better players at each of those events. He's gotten bigger and stronger and has continued to work as hard as anyone can work. That's paying off. He'll continue making that progress and I would expect him to have a really outstanding year.
"His freshman year he was more of a slasher, an attacker and a very good offensive rebounder. Last year he shot it much better but relied on that almost exclusively. So I think we'll see a combination of the two in his junior year."