That’s A Wrap: Victor Oladipo

  • 04/12/2013 8:53 am in

IUMinnITH0012Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Victor Oladipo.

Oladipo (36 games): 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.8 blocks, 2.2 steals, 59.9% FG, 44.1% 3PFG, 74.6% FT in 28.4 minutes per game.

God gives us all talents, but it’s up to us what to do with them. Some waste them and die wondering What Might Have Been. Others do enough to get by; they coast. Some work hard and grow them, and the ordinary becomes extraordinary over time.

And on rare occasions, that hard work, the hours, the relentless drive and dedication to the talents and the craft when no one’s watching makes people blossom into a special flower quicker than anyone thought, and maybe beyond even what they, or anyone else, ever imagined.

This was Victor Oladipo’s 2012-13 campaign — an impossible rise from a defense-first DMV kid with potential second round sniffs to a complete package Top 10 pick, a man, in but a few months time.

“In all my years of covering the draft, I’ve never seen a player improve as much as I’ve seen him improve in such a small period of time,” ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote in February.

“I could coach another 30 years and never see a guy improve from one end a year ago to where he was this year,” said Tom Crean at Oladipo’s press conference earlier this week.

The soon-to-be graduate had his moments of excellence during his freshman and sophomore seasons in the cream and crimson. But the must-see, big time moments grew in number this year. The incredible amount of deflections against Coppin State. The ridiculous near alley-oop against Michigan. His work in the final minutes against MSU in East Lansing to turn defeat to victory. The 360 to end Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament. The 3-pointer to lift the Hoosiers over Temple.

Oladipo flashed improved skill around the rim. His ability to shift and shape and duck around and under for high-efficiency looks coupled with some NBA-caliber drives off the perimeter with his wiry, athletic frame started drawing him comparisons to a college Michael Jordan as the season progressed and it was becoming clear something special was in the works.

National Player of the Year buzz followed. He would earn the nod from Sporting News and also land on the AP’s All-American first team.

As Alex documented Wednesday, Oladipo came into this season saying his outside shot was better — a weak spot in his game previously — and he proved it on the court. His 3-point shooting vastly improved (20.8 percent as a sophomore to 44.1 as a junior) and it was clear from the beginning that his mechanics and form were better. He was confident in what he was doing and it showed all season long. Oladipo never hunted or heat checked the 3-ball. He took them when they were there with great efficiency.

His ability to impact the game on defense continued. Through innate skill, but also through his preparation in studying game film, Oladipo recorded four or more steals eight times. He was a thief. He guarded all the Big Ten’s best and turned Brandon Paul into a whiny mess during a 2-of-13 performance at the United Center. He averaged almost a block a game. He was a strong offensive rebounder and often kept key possessions alive for the Hoosiers.

Like many of his teammates, Oladipo’s shooting sputtered a bit down the stretch, but his complete body of work simply can’t be ignored. It was a sensational season on both sides of the ball, a result of a young man with a dying thirst for excellence on the hardwood.

Bottom line: Oladipo’s 2012-13 season goes down as one of the best ever by an Indiana Hoosier. He evolved from an elite defender to a two-way player and established himself as one of the best players in the nation. The NBA awaits and Oladipo should be able to make his mark because at the very least, he can be used as a wing defender off the bench in an energy role.

PreviouslyHanner Mosquera-PereaPeter Jurkin, Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy HollowellCody Zeller, Remy Abell, Will Sheehey

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  • SCHoosier

    All-American..all-time Hoosier..first round draft choice..good student and classy kid. What else needs be said..except good luck and we’ll miss you. Please there for the hanging of the new B-10 banner..and help with recruiting when TC calls.

  • Darkside9861

    He is an example of what Indiana Basketball will always be! Academics and Athletics. Even CZ is going to finish his business degree. There is not a better University out there like this one. UK can have their one and dones.

  • Justin Harrison

    When you compare expectations to results, I have a hard time thinking of another player who has had a year comparable to Oladipo’s junior season. It’s one thing for a guy to come out of nowhere and contribute, but to raise your game to an All-American level when nobody predicted that at the beginning of the year is pretty special.

  • calbert40

    I really enjoyed watching the maturation of Victor. There really aren’t enough superlatives to attribute to him and his time at IU. We were very fortunate to have a player and person of his caliber in the program.

    I don’t know how many of you saw the DWade / Vic interview on BTN: The Journey this year, but it was neat how they compared the two in different areas. I wonder what future IU recruit will be compared to Vic 10 years down the road, because I think Vic has a chance to be one of the all-time best IU alums in the pros. He should be great, and I’d draft him early if I were a GM.

  • chiswede

    Became my favorite Hoosier ever.

  • HoosierTrav

    Crazy how much I’m gonna miss this guy. He helped put us in a position to collect many all americans going forward.

  • PDXHoosier

    He was the guy that seemed to come up with the big shot, the big offensive rebound, the big steal, etc, when we needed it the most late in games. He still doesn’t seem to be a guy that can just score at will, but he was the best all-around player on the court almost every game.

  • B1G Hoosier Daddy

    Vic never had to be the guy who could score at will and he understood that. I think that’s part of the reason that made him so special. He contributed so he could put his team in a position to win

  • Dan Nevins

    He might just be my all time favorite Hoosier…..love how he seemed to scare Burke too

  • Officially passed Calbert Cheaney as my favorite Hoosier ever. What an incredible year watching his ‘Jordan-like’ game (yes I said it). Also what a great role model for my kids- work harder than everyone and you will succeed. And a degree and B1G championship to boot…Thanks VO!

  • jermhoosierfan

    It was special to watch him progress from his Freshman year to his Junior year. You can tell the game slowed down for him while he put the work in on the court and in the film room. He does what it takes to win which will serve him well in the NBA.

    The moment I will always remember will not only be the greatest near alley-oop in IU history, but Ohio State game in Columbus when the ball bounced to him at the top of the key on a rebound. The lane just seemed to open up for him which he drove straight through for a thunderous dunk. You can also mention all the blocks he got, but that is the one moment that will always stick in my mind.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    That dunk in the pUKe game last year will always be up there for me; it wasn’t the WatShot, but it was a thing of beauty.

  • iuoiu

    He got my 3 boys into watching college basketball (IU specifically). My 7-year old would ask me all the time if Oladipo was on tonight. They would rewind his amazing plays on the DVR over and over. And as a bonus they got to learn what really hard work can do for you in sports or life. What a player – good luck Victor.

  • HOOSIERS135

    All 4 of the guys leaving this year are all four my favorite Hoosiers! And going to school through all of this was even better. Will miss them all very much. But Vic is gonna be huge one day, can’t wait to see him in the NBA!

  • Ha- I remember that dunk- think it was right in Darius Miller’s grille. Awesome…

  • MillaRed

    I am clinically depressed for two weeks. Have very little to say. How can these two do this to me? Me. ME, MEEEEE!!!

  • MillaRed

    Gotta put him in my top 10. Not old enough for the 76 champs. So in no particular order:

    Alford
    Bailey
    Henderson
    Cheaney
    Guyton
    Jeffries
    White
    Zeller
    Coverdale
    Oladipo

    That’s not easy to do. A lot of others I loved.

    Fife
    Gordon
    Evans
    Jordy
    Watford

  • calbert40

    It is hard to respect any list that doesn’t include Robbie Eggers. I kid. I kid.

  • b_side

    What, no love for Mandeville?

  • No offense im from kentucky but that type of thinking is why we are considered an average program and uk is at the top!! Im a IU fanatic but can honestly I could care less about our players grades!! I want to win titles!!

  • Just a great Hoosier if we had one more like him I think we would be hanging a banner this year!! He will always be one of my favorite Hoosiers ever no doubt!! Im 35 so dont remeber Isah Benson and those guys but I lovedEric Gordon and DJ White!!

  • BluegrassHoosier

    Can’t wait to see Victor on the NBA All-Star game.

  • news just released that Remy abell is transfering to get more playing time.

  • ttrout

    I have been following IU b-ball since the ’60’s. Vic has become my 2nd favorite all-time Hoosier (Quinn Buckner will always #1). I wish him the best of success and look forward to watching him in the NBA. Thanks, Vic!