Izzo on Oladipo: ‘He’s the Ray Lewis of basketball’

IUMinnITH0012Opposing coaches often talk about centering their game plans on players other than Cody Zeller because they assume he’s going to get his.

It might not be long before Victor Oladipo starts getting that treatment for the Hoosiers.

Like he does in nearly every big game in front of a national audience, Oladipo put his imprint on Sunday afternoon’s 75-70 win over Michigan State from the very outset. On the game’s first play, the Indiana junior stripped Branden Dawson and finished with a slam on the other end.

“That explosiveness they showed in the first five minutes was phenomenal,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “Oladipo, you’ve got to love the guy. … He just plays so hard. He’s the Ray Lewis of basketball.”

Oladipo’s line: 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots in 30 minutes. He also had 15 deflections in the first half and 22 for the afternoon. When the Hoosiers made numerous uncharacteristic mistakes in the first half, Oladipo was the one who kept them in the game.

“We watch a lot of film as a team, but he always watches that much more,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Oladipo. “He’s getting a knowledge base to go with those instincts and his athleticism. The more he does that, the better he’s gonna be. Your instincts can’t get better without that knowledge.”

Every game, you start to think you’ve seen just about everything from Oladipo. And we probably have. But when he puts it all together in a single performance, it’s hard to imagine coaches not centering their game plans around this guy going forward.

He can shoot, drive, hit pull-ups, defend, rebound, pass, and — perhaps most importantly — lead.

“He was always a personality-driven, very charismatic young man, didn’t really want to hurt anybody’s feelings,” Crean said. “He’s not real worried about that anymore as a leader. You can’t be a leader without being demanding and hurting somebody’s feelings every once in a while.”

Notes

· Hoosiers wear down Spartans: After the game, Izzo admitted his team got tired and didn’t play defense at quite the same level.

“Down the stretch there, we were really sucking air and that caused us not to jam or switch or give them some shots,” he said.

· Zeller was clutch: He was absent for most of the game — he went 63 minutes, 12 seconds without a field goal before his first-half bucket — but Zeller came up big for the Hoosiers late in the game. He scored a late basket on a drive to the rim to put Indiana ahead 74-70, and then took a charge on the other end to seal the win.

“It was winning time and Cody answered the bell. He rang the bell,” Crean said.

· Indiana goes zone: There was a lot of reaction to this on Twitter Sunday afternoon, but the Hoosiers stayed in their 2-3 zone for most of the contest. They gave up a number of uncontested 3s in the zone, but they also kept Michigan State off the foul line. The Spartans did not attempt a free throw in the second half and shot only seven for the day. That was a trade Crean was willing to make.

“We played a little risk-reward there,” he said. “And they did hit some shots, but the shots that they hit were more in our poor rotations.”

· Izzo applauds Hoosiers: “Don’t kid yourself, that’s a great basketball team,” he said.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    You’re right. He’s got a long way to go before you start spelling his name correctly.

    But then again, so do our forwards.

    Let me give you a key to work from Robert.
    Victor Oladipo
    Christian Watford
    Cody Zeller

    Or Olidipo, Wadford and Zellers until they earn their stripes.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    You’re right. He’s got a long way to go before you start spelling his name correctly.

    But then again, so do our forwards.

    Let me give you a key to work from Robert.
    Victor Oladipo
    Christian Watford
    Cody Zeller

    Or Olidipo, Wadford and Zellers until they earn their stripes.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    What? Not ruling out single murders? (*ducks*)

    ;)

    (… yes, yes, I get the joke. I’m just making my own. Hey, why don’t YOU guys try comedy; it ain’t as easy as it looks!!)

  • ScoopGeoff

    I couldn’t agree less… It’s not a function of Dipo, it’s a function of how the NBA draft works. In the last 5 years there have only been 2 seniors selected in the lottery – Hansborough and Terrence Williams. Staying another year will only hurt his chances of going in the lottery. The NBA has already seen his work ethic and improvement from season to season, and therefore they are already comfortable projecting his potential. They either think he’s a lottery pick or they don’t.

    Personally I think he’s a lottery pick, and I would take him ahead of Zeller if I were a GM. Perimeter defense is a premium in the NBA with the great wing scorers and the new hands-off rules outside of the paint. He has a huge effect on games without having to run plays for him, which means your stars will love playing with him. It’s exactly why guys like Tony Allen and Avery Bradley find themselves starting on playoff teams.

    That being said, he’s my favorite Hoosier of all time (1980-present is as far back as my memory allows) and I desperately hope he doesn’t go.

  • achurt

    Lazy wouldn’t be the word. I can’t think of anything I’d rather NOT watch than an athlete or coach speaking. I enjoy watching them do what they do – generally when they speak – it is a disaster.
    And these guys that are feigning offense at Izzo’s comments have to be kidding, right? Obviously Izzo had no intent on comparing Vic to the murderer Ray Lewis, just the intense and talented player Ray Lewis. I think this is just their way of showing that they don’t approve of Ray Lewis… because he murdered someone.

  • BlakeD1223

    Oladipo for President.

  • achurt

    Are you sure you didn’t mean to say Zeller GOT dominated down low?
    The marginally talented Nix just abused him.

  • achurt

    Are you sure you didn’t mean to say Zeller GOT dominated down low?
    The marginally talented Nix just abused him.

  • achurt

    hahahaha! I wanted to say something earlier… Thank you.

  • wakajawaka

    Best comment on the site!

  • wakajawaka

    Best comment on the site!

  • MillaRed

    Ahhh yes the juicy discussion I covet. First of all, if VO is not 1st team All-B1G something is very wrong. He has everything he needs statistically to back it up. AND he is up for B1G Defensive POY. No one on your 1st and 2nd team have those credentials. It’s his defense that puts him on the 1st team. I mentioned above he is 2nd team AA, so he better damn well be 1st Team B1G! Ahead of Cody.

    1st Team –

    Burke – 18.0, 7.1 and 3.0. No brainer.
    Oladipo – Stat stuffer, heart of a FF contender, Def POY candidate.
    Hardaway – 16.0. 2.5 and 5.0. Burke’s assassin. Too good.
    Thomas – B1G scoring leader. I am not thrilled. But it’s inevitable.
    Zeller – 4th in ppg, 2nd in boards. You HAVE to game plan for him.

    2nd Team -

    Craft – media too far up his butt.
    Appling – see Craft. Don’t like his attitude. Izzo will campaign.
    Hollins – Main man on team that will be in the dance.
    Paul – See Hollins
    Mbakwe – He’s 38 years old. He should be good.

  • sloan screen #45

    I would take a 3 star guy like VO who has worked and fought his way to greatness over a 5 star spoiled brat any day of the week.

  • MillaRed

    Well………..

    MJ SO year, 20 ppg, 53% FG, 44.7% 3P FG, 5.5 rb, 1.7 assists, 2.2 steals

    Vic SO Year, 14 ppg, 66% FG, 55% 3P FG, 6.0 rb, 2.4 assists, 2.5 steals

    I think the stats are eerily similar. Keep in mind, MJ took 527 shots, VO has 156 through 2/3 of the season and has a better FG%. He could go for 20 ppg pretty easily if we needed it.

    I’m not saying Victor is the next MJ, but honestly, he looks, leaps, defends, and has the charisma MJ did at this level IMO. The kid is phenomenal.

  • calbert40

    No issues. I can completely see Hardaway over Hollins. I just wonder if the media will have problems putting 4 guys from UM and IU on 1st team. I think it would be an accurate assessment, but the media typically doesn’t go for accurate assessments.

    I can see Paul on 2nd Team, but I’d much rather have Dawson on my roster than Paul. I think CWat is a superior player to him. Actually, I don’t think I’d trade Will for Paul straight up. I think if Paul was on IU or UM, he’d be a 15-20 mpg 6th man. I’m not overly impressed by the talent on that roster.

  • calbert40

    Fantastic!!

  • calbert40

    You’re right. If we needed Oladipo to go for 20 a night, I think he could. We don’t need it, so he doesn’t do it. I really think he will just set the NBA on fire when he gets there. I don’t watch the NBA, but I’d still love to see him go to the Pacers. I might actually go to a game!!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    His progression as a player has become legendary. I hope he stays for his senior year (selfish I know) to help further this team and possibly mentor Hanner. To me they have a lot in common. VO was not quite as raw as a freshman but when he learned to put it on the glass for the layup instead of the highlight reel missed dunks then he really started coming along.

  • MillaRed

    Paul is inconsistent and a head case. I’ll pass (which he does very little of). I am a mean person.

  • MillaRed

    Paul is inconsistent and a head case. I’ll pass (which he does very little of). I am a mean person.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    sorry about the spelling, dyslexia always gets me, but the content is always more important than the pique stuff, in that so many misspell or mispronounce mine and it matters little, what is the content. This was not even a determinate game, big game in the course of the season but the giddyness is too strong. VO as he is referred here is the best player on the court no doubt, and Izzo knew that, as did all the Spartans. Let us see how we are after next Sat night….could be in a dominate position or could be looking up.

  • FortWHoosier

    Second the Wilkerson and Buckner comparo. Like they, Victor is a predator on defense. You can almost see it coming, his focus on his man is visible. Wait, wait, wait-bam, gone. Right Milla, it is a major pleasure to watch this kid play.

  • FortWHoosier

    Second the Wilkerson and Buckner comparo. Like they, Victor is a predator on defense. You can almost see it coming, his focus on his man is visible. Wait, wait, wait-bam, gone. Right Milla, it is a major pleasure to watch this kid play.

  • yimyames

    I read your post, enjoyed it, and understood it 100%. , thanks

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6ANMOME2ZJ3WB2E6CGECVF5BBU Jerry

    So what are you saying that VO is going pro? He is a Junior!

  • sloan screen #45

    Yes Jerry, unless he gets injured he is gone.

  • sloan screen #45

    It could be worse Robert, my wifes 86 year old grandfather calls Vic Homedepot

  • kwehner

    What do you guys think about Chris Reynolds vs Olidipo defensively. Reynolds was a great defensive player, but not the offensive player Victor is.

  • kwehner

    What do you guys think about Chris Reynolds vs Olidipo defensively. Reynolds was a great defensive player, but not the offensive player Victor is.

  • CreanFaithful

    Also finishing his undergrad this year…..

  • CreanFaithful

    I immediately watch the coach pressers every game… I think more people should. Allows us to see what the coaches were game planning for, why they made certain adjustments, and “their take” on what happened…

  • IUMIKE1

    Is there any thing that this kid DOESN’T do well. When CBS interviewed him & Crean & Crean reached down & picked up his little girl there was VO suddenly appearing in the frame reaching over and giving the little girl a kiss on the side of the head.

    Smoooooth Oppppperator !

  • IUMIKE1

    Are those VO’s stats so far this season or his end of the year stats for last year, his SO year ?

  • IUMIKE1

    That is a very interesting stat as well. I would have guessed that the number of possessions that we played zone would have been much higher than that and I would have figured that a lot more of their made 3′s were against the zone. Thanks for the stat.

  • IUMIKE1

    Kinda what I was thinking earlier. How will the future recruits that will have never had the good fortune to have played against him in practice and pick up games have VO described to them ? Well it will probably be one of those, ” I can describe it and tell you about him but it just wouldn’t do it justice. It’s kind of one of those things where you just had to be there to see it & experience it personally to be able to truly grasp the magnitude of it “. On the days when he reappears at Cook Hall to abuse the rims and hone his game even more the air will be electric and Cook Hall will be full and all of our players at that time will be better players and people for being there around him.

  • calbert40

    Does it mean that I am also a mean person, because I laughed pretty hard at that lame joke!!??

  • azhoosier

    terrible comparison……that’s not funny at all….Lewis is a criminal….

  • azhoosier

    implicated nothing?….he was involved in it…period

  • A Self Cleaning Oven

    EXACTLY.

  • gregg

    I told a friend his freshman season that Ollie as I call Victor was going to be a great ball player. This before we heard of his studies and his determination. I think being a scout would be a good job for me. Just think what I can do for an NCAA team, lol.

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