A look at how members of IU’s 2012-2013 Big Ten championship team are performing in the pros

  • 01/08/2014 11:06 am in

Periodically throughout the season, we’ll take a look at how members of IU’s 2012-2013 Big Ten championship team are performing in both the NBA and professional leagues around the world. Here’s our first update:

· Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Stats: 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals in 30.2 minutes per game

Notes: Oladipo’s most recent effort was a strong one as he scored 22 points and added eight rebounds and five assists in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The former IU All-American has started 16 of Orlando’s 34 games, but has struggled at times with turnovers. That said, he was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for December and is a major piece of the ongoing rebuilding effort for the Magic.

Best game: 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 126-125 double overtime loss at Philadelphia on Dec. 3. Oladipo played 52 minutes.

NBA: Preseason-Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Bobcats

(Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)

· Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats
Stats: 5.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists in 17.1 minutes per game

Notes: Zeller’s player efficiency rating is poor (8.95) and his shooting percentage is just 36.5. He’s still managed to stay in Charlotte’s rotation, serving as a backup for Josh McRoberts. The Bobcats have been a surprise team in the woeful Eastern Conference as they currently sit in seventh place at 15-21.

Best game: 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 111-110 win over Milwaukee on Dec. 23. Zeller played 22 minutes.

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· Christian Watford, Hapoel Eilat (Israel)
Stats: 10.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.2 assists in 26.5 minutes per game

Notes: Watford is a starter for Hapoel Eilat, which is 7-7 and currently seventh in the Winner League. The former IU forward hasn’t shot the ball particularly well so far in Israel, as he’s just 15-of-44 from behind the 3-point line.

Best game: 21 points and four rebounds in a 91-75 loss to Hapoel Jerusalem on Oct. 28. Watford played 25 minutes.

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· Jordan Hulls, Energa Czarni (Poland)
Stats: 9.0 points, 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals in 22.3 minutes per game

Notes: At 8-5, Energa Czarni is currently fifth in its league. Hulls is the team’s starting point guard and he’s shooting 41.9 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Best game: 22 points and four assists in a 78-67 loss to AZS Koszalin on Dec. 8. Hulls played a team-high 31 minutes.

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· Derek Elston, Floriana (Malta)

Notes: The most recent update available on Elston is from December’s Times of Malta, which reported that he was named the MBA player of the month for the second straight month. According to the story, Elston “was an inspirational figure behind the Greens’ results, scoring 124 points and being the best scorer for November in the championship, also nailing four three-pointers in the process. The American player also had an average of 13.75 rebounds, 3.00 steals and 2.50 assists per game.”

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  • calbert40

    No argument from me on that point. In a not totally unrelated point, I wonder how many players who jumped to the NBA early regretted that decision years later? Money is nice, but for many people (myself included), college was the four most fun years of my life. What price would I put on those years? Hard to say.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I get what you are saying and agree as a society its all about me, me, me; however, we are just talking about college basketball here and as much as I love it …Its still just a game and if you can make a living at it why wouldn’t you?

  • Ron K

    With your month to month philosophy on Zeller, does that mean you feel he was substantially improved in his last game against Syracuse compared to his first game as a freshman ? He should have been much better according to your theory. Do you feel that he was any better in that game? I hope he has a great NBA career, but I’m not sure I’d bet on 15 years.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I don’t think he had small arms his soph year. As for playing crouched down, there are a lot of coaches who tell their players to “get low” to have better balance, strength, and lift over your opponent. I do agree he played low probably too much and maybe at the wrong times. It may have been ingrained into him having played against older taller brothers growing up. Maybe his only advantage was to go under the taller Zellers.

  • Lance

    Good point–though it’s a bit weird to hear the “it’s just a game” argument on a website devoted to following every move Indiana basketball makes. And in the state of Indiana no less. You’re venturing into blasphemy territory, you know 🙂

  • Bryan

    Wait, how could CZ’s or VO’s stock rise if they played one more year? They were top 5 picks.

    The bottom line is I would expect a player to leave if they were draft worthy and wouldn’t consider it to be an issue of loyalty. So they stay and get an education to possibly make an average of $40k a year in a regular entry level job, or leave and make a few million and can forever after afford to go back to school if they desire.

    There is no reason for a fan to want a player to limit or prolong his potential for financial success. That is, after all, why most of us go to college.

  • Bryan

    Even if they stayed the chance of a banner wasn’t guaranteed. Crean is a frustrating coach and beats his own team night in and night out. We had two lottery picks and barely got past round 2 only to be embarrassed in round 3. MSU and Wisco are even better this year than last. It’s not a guarantee, but everyone knew they were top 5 picks last year. It’s delusional to think the chances of a national championship is a reason to leave so that you could maybe get picked #1 instead of #3, #4, or #5. The position of being drafted in those top 5 picks is not that different.

  • Lance

    If CZ rises from 4 to #1 that’s a def. boost in pay grade. If player’s have got championship nerves, they are more ready for the pro game than if they don’t and can command more $$.

    But to your main argument: You’re right, I wouldn’t want a player to limit their potential for financial success, UNLESS, that is, I valued the Indiana basketball program more highly than that one player’s bank account. Then I most definitely want them to stay around.

    Players make their own decisions and demonstrate what they value, and I say more power to them. Live your life in the way you see fit. But for me, — as a fan– I want a better IU team, and that means (gasp) holding onto the better players for longer.

  • Hoosier Mama#32

    His coach kept him from doing what he Loved! We have to get him back to the States to play Pro!!!

  • VerdellJonesIV

    Why do people think players develop better in college? If he goes to the NBA, he doesn’t have practice limits, classes 4-5 days a week, exams that take weeks to study for, and most importantly, they aren’t even kept from practicing with the team and coaches for a decent chunk of the year.
    If a player wants to really develop, they go to the pros so they can eat, sleep, and breathe basketball. They need to get into an NBA training program that has them in the weight room every single morning, and in the gym working on their game all afternoon when they would be on campus otherwise.
    Thirdly, the coaches in college are great, but they are in lower paying college jobs for a reason. Almost all of the top talent developers in the country(I’m talking about assistant coaches) work for NBA teams, and they do nothing but work with the players all day long.
    If you want to develop at a faster pace without the distractions that college lifestyle brings, go to the NBA.

  • Hoosier Mama#32

    Yes, but its barely a 2 week paycheck here…he just wants to play…

  • That is a pretty myopic viewpoint.. Cody wasn’t expected to shoot layups at IU. He just never could feel comfortable shooting more than 10 feet from the basket. He consistently by-passed the 10 to 15 ft shot only to drive into the lane and have his shot blocked. That was Cody. He missed a short jumper once when he was a Freshman, and never would attempt another that year. Rarely did he then the next year either. It wasn’t in his comfort zone. So if he’s such a good outside shot, he plays and practices every day now.. why isn’t he lighting it up from outside in the pros? Because he’s not comfortable with it even now.

  • Cody worked on his jump shooting.. He just never would try it in a game. Remember as a Sophomore he either won the 3 point contest at Hoosier Hysteria or was second. I’m thinking he actually won it. But, he just wouldn’t shoot them in a game.

  • Your lack of knowledge on any of this really shows. Referring to Cody’s small arms, is saying they were relatively short, as compared to normal seven footers. It has been well known from the start that Cody was tall yes, but not very long. So I guess you’re saying, that all at once Cody’s arms became not so short, huh? Now that would be a real freak occurrence. Not sure how your arms get shorter as you grow older, but it’s your story.. so you can tell it anyway you want.

  • oldiugymnast

    There is also that blown out knee that costs them their entire career and all that money as a downside of staying… If you can get paid millions to play a game in which people get injured all the time or play it for free, in my book you would be a fool to chose the later.

  • Lance

    I get that, but isn’t that basically an argument for everyone to go pro asap? Why not after high school or after middle school?

    On the other hand, it’s also possible that one more year of experience, strength, bball IQ, maturity, etc translates into mo’ money and a better career.

    Even still, I get the desire for big $$. It trumps everything. But, as a fan, I still want a team with the better players instead of one where the talent jumps ship and leaves us constantly rebuilding.

    I’m interested in Indiana basketball, not some farm team for the NBA.

  • MarkDIU10

    CZ did what he should have done. He got a major head start on his degree, he was told by professional NBA executives that he would be a top draft pick. I don’t think anybody can say that he got leaps and bounds better his sophomore year from his freshman year. Unlike VO who was a low 2nd round draft prospect going into last year and turned it into the 2nd pick in the draft. Now he’s practicing and playing against professionals in the top league in the world. Far cry from playing Nicholls State, Oakland, Kennesaw State, etc.
    But here is where I stand personally and maybe Im a jerk. But I could care less what these do in the NBA or elsewhere. Im glad for them that they are making $ doing what they love. But I want them to hang banners at IU while they are there. What they do after that is just a “oh cool…good for them” moment for me.

  • Ole Man

    LOL. Loving the fact that no matter what I post, I have a troll who marks it down.

  • Ole Man

    You’re assuming Cody would have gone #1 this year. Very, very difficult to make that assumption.

  • Snookafly

    Maybe they’ll honor him with knighthood.

  • Zack81

    Agreed. If you want to develop, you should probably go to the place where they eat, sleep, and breath Basketball 24/7. There are no mickey-mouse restrictions on how you can practice, etc. like there are in the pro’s.

  • Zack81

    Good point. He could’ve been a very useful piece to that team that lost against Maryland.

  • 1-2-32

  • YogiBear

    Really happy for them but am I the only one who looks at CWats team photo and laughs? Someone needs to get them new jerseys.

    First time in awhile I’ve actually gone on this site an smiled. This season has really taken a toll on all of us. So much youth, I was just expecting to see more progression up to this point. Gotta remain optimistic!

  • DRT

    Completely agree on your second paragraph. It doesn’t make you a jerk at all. What drives me crazy is when fans root for the player over the team. I hope Oladipo has a great NBA career, but I hope every time he plays the Pacers he gets shut out.

  • oldiugymnast

    I won’t argue about the incentives being oddly aligned since I used to coach the guy in the Bango costume and was a pro sports mascot myself – I have some serious consequences from injuries I received doing that and the NBA never gave me a penny when I got hurt on the job (although, I did learn enough to help Bango with his first few contracts so that didn’t happen to him). But even still, if you had come to me and said “I will pay you $5M to quit IU and come put on a super hot costume and do crazy stuff of a mini-tramp in front of thousands of people and guarantee you a better contract if you can make it through that first year in good shape,” I would have jumped at that opportunity and still would. At the ripe old age of 45 I can still study – heck, I can still do a flip dunk – but I sure as snot can’t do the athletic stuff I could 20 years ago. I don’t blame anyone at all for taking the payout given the risk/reward of that situation for NBA caliber ball players.

  • Stephen O

    You have to understand that regardless of wether or not CZ stayed and may or may not have won a championship, his draft stock would never have been higher. NBA scouts care about the upside, he was drafted at that spot because of his incredible combine he had and his athletic upside. Another year in college and he would have been criticized much more closely and critiqued much more, and I don’t know if you remember or not but he was criticized a whole hell of a lot last year. You can’t blame the kid for taking the opportunity of a life time and going pro when he did, staying at IU would have only hurt his draft stock.

  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    Oladipo leaving was the right move. He earned his degree and would probably have not gotten any better by staying one more year in college. Plus he would have to be a grad student to play, which would serve no purpose other than eligibility. Cody on the other hand, I wish would have stayed. I understand the reasom why he left but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it. He could have stayed one more year, gotten his degree completed and improved on the court. I wonder a little bit too if he regrets it. I could be way off, but it seems like he really misses college.

  • HoosierTrav

    Eric Gordon left after a season when EVERYONE said he wasn’t ready…. He just signed a $60 Million dollar contract.

    Its not only the NBA who is ruining CBB. The NCAA has just as big a hand in the destruction of CBB as the NBA, if not more.

    There is nothing that says Victor or Cody’s draft stock would have risen. Amazing how many times this horse must be beaten over the head but…… Players are drafted primarily on their potential. Victor isnt rising to the #1 spot and Cody isnt rising to the #3 in this upcoming draft, regardless of how the season would have turned out. Our program doesnt necessarily encourage the “money trumps all” philosophy. They’re being consulted about real life situations with real life consequences. You are making your judgements solely out of selfishness. Had Cody and VIctor stayed, whats the gain for them? NOTHING. They proved all they had to and brought us back on the national scene. Victor had his degree in hand and Cody is darn close to his. Victor would have slid further than the #2 pick and Cody would most likely have slid out of the top 10 (base on who’ in this years draft). So essentially its just us that benefits them staying. Thats not right. The group we have right now is young and extremely talented. Give these kids some time and years under their belt and they will do special things.

  • HoosierTrav

    Let the kids declare straight out of high school. The D-League is very underutilized. No reason it cant be the “farm league” of the NBA. Kids shouldn’t be forced to attend college. Kids who decide to attend college and further development should have to be, at a minimum, 2 years removed from high school graduation.

  • HoosierTrav

    I agree. Not only a very difficult assumption but completely unrealistic.

  • HoosierTrav

    Gorgui Deng won a national championship last year. How’d that turn out for him? You arent being realistic at all.

  • HoosierTrav

    Cody showed plenty of team loyalty by actually coming to IU and forgoing a for sure lotto selection to come back for a second year. Try and remember this. He risked injury and lots of money coming back. He came back bc he loved his teammates and wanted to make a run at a title for Indiana University. Remember that he could have went to any school he wanted to and he choose to come to Indiana. A BIG thank you is in order. Not questions about his loyalty to the team and the university.

  • b_side

    I know Brandon Jennings was a pioneer in playing Euro ball for a year before getting drafted. He wasn’t a stud player out there, but earned a living.

    Jeremy Tyler (former high level recruit) skipped his senior year of high school and went to Israel for two years before getting drafted in the second round, a failed experiment.

  • Richard Rubwright

    I’m a male stripper

  • Jeremy Pinnell

    He is coaching the basketball team of his high school alma mater in Tennessee. His twitter handle is @kirkhaston35IU Last year he was chatting with Mateen Cleaves during some games including the 2 Michigan State games. Wow, they were slamming each other playfully, but pretty hard.

  • Eugene Debs

    Cody should have stayed. He looks very weak.