Oladipo rises to starring role with Indiana
by Bob Kravitz, USA TODAY Sports
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Cody Zeller might be every draftnik’s idea of a top five NBA draft pick – and he is, despite two sub-standard offensive games in a row — but it’s hard to argue about who IU’s best player is these days.
His name is Victor Oladipo.
In the space of two, three years, he has gone from a raw athlete/dunker/defender into a well-rounded guard who can drive, shoot from the perimeter, pass and wreak havoc on the defensive end. He is a prototype NBA two guard, a guy who can create off the dribble and guard multiple positions.
“He plays so hard,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said after the Hoosiers’ 75-70 victory over the Spartans Sunday. “He’s the Ray Lewis of basketball.”
If Oladipo comes out early and enters the NBA Draft, he’ll likely be a mid- to late-round guy while Zeller is a surefire Lottery pick. But if you’ve watched IU basketball with any consistency this season, you know the truth: Oladipo, who really should be part of the Wooden Watch, has been their best player and their most valuable player.
The eighth-ranked Hoosiers don’t beat No. 11 Michigan State without a special afternoon from Oladipo.
The Hoosiers don’t slip back into first place in the Big Ten Sunday without Oladipo stealing passes, shooting lights out, rebounding and grabbing what seemed like every loose ball.
The checklist: 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, six steals, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Has anybody come further than a kid? A year ago, he shot 20.8 percent from three; this year, he’s at 55.2. Last year, he shot 47 percent from the field; this year, he’s shooting 66 percent. He’s also third in the country in effective field goal percentage (whatever that is, but it sounds impressive) and fourth in the nation in overall field goal percentage at 66 percent. He leads the Big Ten in steals and added to that number Saturday.
His 40 total points and all-around game make him a near-sure thing for Big Ten Player of the Week.
Amazing stuff for a young guy who wasn’t a McDonald’s or Hardee’s or Burger Chef … [For more on Victor Oladipo rises to starring role with No. 8 Indiana, click here.]