Bahamians making great strides in the NCAA


Sports Reporter


IN their new surroundings as freshmen or transfers to major Division I NCAA basketball programmes, Bahamian players have made an immediate impact with their respective schools.

Grand Bahama native Buddy Hield continues to establish himself as a high volume scorer and give his Oklahoma Sooners a customary offensive spark off the bench in a 64-54 win over the Texas A&M Aggies to claim the All-College Classic tournament title.

Hield totalled 12 points and four rebounds, but it was the timing of when he scored which was the biggest benefit to the Sooners.

Trailing by six, 19-13, Hield made a pair at the line and followed up with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to pull the Sooners within one, 19-18.

Several possessions later, he gave the Sooners their first lead of the game on a jumper, 22-21, and his second three was the finisher on a 12-2 run which put the Sooners ahead by four.

Hield is currently fourth on the Sooners in scoring with an average of 8.9 points per game. He is shooting 42 per cent from the field, 38 per cent from three-point range, and a team leading 85 per cent from the three point line. His 3.4 rebounds per game leads all Oklahoma backcourt players.

The Sooners have three non-conference games left on their schedule before they open up Big 12 play against West Virginia on January 5.

Over in the ACC, Shaquille Clear is beginning to emerge as a consistent member of the frontcourt rotation for the Maryland Terrapins, showing flashes of what made him a highly touted recruit heading to College Park, Maryland.

Cleare has posted 20 points and 11 rebounds over the past two games. He got only 20 minutes of playing time combined against Northwestern and George Mason in late November has received 48 minutes on the court in the two following contests.

Cleare made the first start of his career December 5 against Maryland-Eastern Shore and scored a season-high 12 points in his team’s 100-68 win.

In the next game againt South Carolina State, Cleare returned to his bench role and posted a near double double with eight points and eight rebounds, another season high in the Terrapins’ 61-46 win..

In 14 minutes per game, he is averaging 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, shooting 57 per cent from the field and 75 per cent from the free throw line.

In the Southland Conference, Zane Knowles looks to establish himself after several stops on his young basketball career.

In his junior year with the Texas A&M Corpus Cristi Islanders, Knowles is averaging 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

His best outing came on December 1 when he posted 12 points and eight rebounds in an 88-59 loss to Iowa.

After completing a stint at Pearl River Community College, Knowles will have two years of eligibility left with the Islanders.

After a standout career on the local scene, the Exuma native finished high school at Champagnat Catholic School in Miami, where he was named a South Florida All-Star and earned a spot in the Miami Dade/Broward County All-Star Game.

He spent his freshman year at Grambling, where he was severely hampered by several injuries. He played in just 15 games and averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per outing.

At Pearl River Community College, he posted 12.6 points and 8.4 rebounds and shot 61 per cent from the field.

Knowles and Hield are scheduled to face each other on December 31 when the Islanders travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to face the Sooners.


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