Kobe Bryant isn't easily impressed by young players.
But one young baller who more than caught the eye of the five-time NBA champion Saturday was Oklahoma's Buddy Hield.
The future Hall of Famer witnessed the senior guard drop 37 points, on 13-of-20 shooting including eight three-pointers, to lead the Sooners to a 80-68 victory over Oregon at the Honda Center in Anaheim to punch their ticket into the Final Four.
Bryant's reaction to Hield's fireworks?
“Blown away,” Bryant told Bleacher Report. “Blown away.”
He added: “I just love his motor. 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. He plays, man. He plaaaaaayyyyss!”
As awestruck as Bryant was watching Hield, the senior guard was that much more taken aback getting that kind of praise from his basketball idol.
“I’m a Kobe freak,” Hield told Bleacher Report. “I’ve got a serious man crush on Kobe. You’ve gotta perform when the Mamba’s in town. He gave me a little dap and nodded his head and I said, ‘OK, it’s time to go to work.’”
That being said, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Hield shied away from comparisons to the Black Mamba, one of the greatest NBA players ever.
"I'm not Kobe Bryant," Hield told ESPN. "They should not compare me. I just make shots. Me and Kobe [are] in two different classes."
Hield's Oklahoma will next face Villanova in the Final Four on Saturday evening.
Hield is regarded as a hands-down lottery pick for the 2016 NBA Draft.
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(Photos: Harry How/Getty Images)
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