Buddy Hield and Tayler Soucie (Kansas) have been selected as the 2015-16 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced. Soucie was a junior on the Jayhawk volleyball team this past season while Hield completed his career with the Sooners’ men’s basketball squad.
The Sportsperson of the Year Awards began in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. This year’s winners were selected by a media panel.
Soucie played in all 113 sets in 2015 while helping the Jayhawks to a historic run to their first appearance in the NCAA Championship national semifinals. She also excels in the classroom. Soucie completed 140.5 community service hours from August 2015 through May 2016 (including Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteering at local hospitals and visiting local elementary schools). She is also responsible for creating a Holiday Toy Drive for a local Pediatric Hospital.
The Osawatomie, Kansas, native was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in both 2014 and 2015 while majoring in Exercise Science/Pre Medicine.
Hield bypassed early entry into the NBA draft after his junior season to return to Oklahoma to obtain his degree, improve his game, and in the process led the Sooners to the Final Four.
While accepting individual awards, Hield always included his teammates during the presentation when they were present or in his acceptance speech when they were not. He was also known for returning to the court to sign autographs following postgame media obligations, both at home and on the road, regardless of the outcome of the game. Following a three-overtime loss at Kansas in which Hield contributed 46 points, he made his way back to the hardwood to sign autographs, take photos and interact with the Jayhawk fans.
After OU’s quarterfinal win over Iowa State at the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship, Hield shared the postgame ESPN interview with the Cyclones’ Georges Niang. It was a break from tradition as the interview is usually dedicated to a winning player. He was also recognized in a blog by ESPN reporter Holly Rowe as one of the first people to reach out to her after a cancer diagnosis.
The Freeport, Bahamas native is an active volunteer around the Norman and OU community. He is a frequent visitor to area elementary schools to read in classrooms and takes part in math and computer labs with the students. He became the first player in the then 19-year history of the Big 12 to be named player of the year, lead the league in scoring and be named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team when he did so during the 2014-15 season. He earned second team academic honors from the league in 2016 while graduating with a degree in human relations. A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, Hield has been named as a Sooner Scholar six times and has been on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll four times.