WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Former Sunrise Christian Academy basketball player Buddy Hield took a trip down memory lane this week and visited his alma mater.

“Surprise is family to me,” said Hield. “I can’t be more proud of how I was grown up.”

Hield returned to the gym that started it all to hold his fifth annual basketball camp for kids in the community.

“It’s a great experience for these kids,” said Kyle Lindsted, Hield’s former coach at Sunrise. “And what makes it so incredible is the fact that Buddy is so willing to help coach them up. He wants to be involved. Buddy’s got more energy than the kids.”

Energy, resilience, and toughness are how Lindsted described Hield’s approach to the game, and now he’s teaching that same mindset to the future generation of players.

“Teaching them the grind, that it’s not easy. That when you come to basketball camp, you’re not just going
to get it in one day,” described Hield. “You have to continue to work and put the effort in and put the mental and the physical preparation in.”

Another lesson Hield tried to teach was that success doesn’t happen overnight. Hield’s journey is a prime example. After Sunrise, Hield played ball at Oklahoma, averaging 7.8 points per game his first year to 25 his senior year. On top of that, Hield was named the Naismith National Player of the Year.

“Buddy is a guy that probably shouldn’t have made it, but he willed it,” said Lindsted. “He willed himself by hard work and having that contagious energy.”

From a small island in the Bahamas to Sunrise Christian Academy to being the sixth overall pick in the NBA Draft, Hield said it’s all been a blessing. He said all he could do was come back and give back to the kids.