Former Hoosiers Archive
Former Indiana great Walt Bellamy, the first Hoosier to ever be selected No. 1 in the NBA Draft, has passed away at age 74, the Atlanta Hawks announced Saturday afternoon.
Bellamy is regarded as one of the best Indiana basketball players of all-time, recording 1,441 points and 1,008 rebounds in a three-year career from 1958 to 1961. Earning two all-American honors during his time in Bloomington, he also was the first Hoosier to ever be the NBA Rookie of the Year. While he was a student at IU, Bellamy also won an Olympic gold medal in 1960.
“Walt Bellamy was one of the greatest players to ever wear the Hoosier uniform,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a press release. “He did things on the court that separated him as a transformational player and he did things statistically that boggled your mind. He was proud of being a Hoosier and told me he planned to see us this year. He was always willing to help. He will be missed and always respected.”
Bellamy still holds Indiana school records of most rebounds in a season (649), most rebounds in a single game (33), most double-doubles in a career (59) and most rebounds in a three-year career.
(Photo credit: Jessica Hoffman/Pacers.com)
Former Indiana All-American and Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo got his first official taste of the NBA on Tuesday night.
Oladipo, the No. 2 pick in last June’s NBA Draft, came off the bench for the rebuilding Magic and scored 12 points in a 97-87 loss to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“This was my first game. I just got here. It’s going to take time,” Oladipo told reporters afterward. “You never know what to expect.”
A strong contingent of Indiana fans showed up to watch Oladipo make his NBA debut as he signed autographs and posed for pictures before the game.
Verdell Jones III had a dream of making the NBA when he was a kid. It became much more of an attainable goal when he played at Indiana.
His NBA dream and goal seemed to be all but gone when he suffered a torn ACL against Penn State during the Big Ten Tournament of his senior season. But Jones isn’t giving up yet.
The former Indiana guard is back in the United States after playing professionally in Japan this past season, and he’s ready to take a serious run at the league he always dreamed of playing in.
“It’s definitely one of my goals and dreams, so I’ll definitely try to keep pursuing it as long as I can,” Jones told Inside the Hall on Thursday. “If it doesn’t work out then hey, it doesn’t work out. But I’m definitely pushing it and reaching for it.”
Jones is currently back home in Champaign, Ill. and he said he plans to start training around the country soon. His agent has set up workouts for him in Chicago and New York, and he said he hopes to join an NBA Summer League team sometime after the current season ends.
“I’m just working out and trying to get stronger,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
While it may not be likely Jones lands on an NBA roster for next season, he’s in a much better position to make one now than he was a year ago.
When Jones graduated from Indiana last May, he was still in the process of trying to recover from his injured knee. He signed a pro contract with Peristeri GS, a Greek team, in August, but the situation wasn’t exactly ideal. The country went through serious financial woes, and Jones didn’t feel secure for the long term.
“In Greece, it was a good league, but the money situation was terrible,” Jones said. “You got paid late, first off, and when you did get paid, you got paid like half your check. It was stressful as far as that aspect, so I thought it was best for me to leave and go to a different country.”
Jones returned home for a few weeks last December to weigh his options and decide on his next step. Eventually, he decided to accept a contract offer from the Oita Heat Devils in Japan.
Former Indiana guard Remy Abell is getting closer to choosing a new home.
As first reported by Inside the Hall on Tuesday, Abell has narrowed his list of schools to Xavier, St. Louis and St. Mary’s. Abell announced his decision to transfer from Indiana after two seasons last month.
Abell said on Tuesday evening that he was contacted by in-state school Butler and coach Brad Stevens, but decided it wasn’t the right fit for him.
“That’s a great school and program,” Abell wrote in a text message. “Things just didn’t work out.”
Abell said he will visit Xavier on Friday and St. Louis on Monday. He has not yet scheduled his visit to St. Mary’s, but said he is currently working to do so now. Abell plans to make a decision quickly after making his visits, likely within the next 7-10 days.
Per NCAA transfer rules, Abell must sit out next season and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2014-2015 season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports via sources, former IU forward D.J. White has reached an agreement on a one-year deal to play with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association.
White got decent run for the Bobcats last season (18.9 mpg) in the last year of his contract. But with NBA training camp on the horizon next month and no guaranteed NBA deal signed, it’s possible White opted for guaranteed money and a roster spot overseas in a league with a decent reputation instead of the uncertainty of a non-guaranteed deal/training camp invite he may still have been able to get stateside with an NBA team.
The CBA has seen more current and former NBA players of late, from Stephon Marbury to the likes of Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler during last season’s lockout.
As Wojnarowski notes, “White will be able to return to NBA at the end of the Chinese Basketball Association’s season in March. He can be playoff-eliglble in NBA.”
So a strong showing in China could have him back in the NBA as early as the 2012-13 season.
And by signing just a one-year deal with Shanghai, White may again look to ink a deal in the NBA in the summer of 2013 when his contract with Shanghai will be complete.
According to multiple reports, former Indiana guard Neil Reed died on Thursday at the age of 36.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Reed suffered a massive heart attack on Wednesday and passed away earlier today in Nipomo, California.
Reed played three seasons at Indiana and played in a total of 94 games, starting 72. A native of Metairie, Louisiana, Reed arrived at Indiana for the 1994-1995 season.
He was a McDonald’s All-American at East Jefferson High School.
Reed averaged 9.3 points, 3.0 assists and 2.3 rebounds before leaving the team following his junior season. He played his entire freshman season with a separated shoulder, averaging 5.9 points in 30 games.
The Louisiana native finished his collegiate career at Southern Mississippi, where he averaged 18.1 points as a senior.
His 938 career points rank 49th all-time on IU’s scoring list.
Three years after leaving Indiana, Reed accused former coach Bob Knight of choking him during a practice, which Knight denied until video later surfaced.
More recently, according to The Times-Picayune, Reed was a teacher and coach at Pioneer Valley High in Santa Maria, California.
Reed is survived by his wife, Kelly, and daughters Marley and Presley.
The 12-man roster that will represent the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London was announced Saturday night and former Indiana guard Eric Gordon missed the final cut.
Gordon, who averaged 8.6 points and 1.6 rebounds on the USA World Championship team that won the 2010 FIBA World Championship, was among six players vying for the final three spots on the Olympic team.
USA Basketball began training on Friday in Las Vegas and went through two workouts before the final roster was announced.
Andre Igoudala, Blake Griffin and James Harden made the cut and Gordon, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gay were left off the roster.
Gordon, who has agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday for four years and $58 million, reiterated on Friday in Las Vegas that he’ll be disappointed if the New Orleans Hornets decide to match the offer:
“If (the Hornets) were interested, there wouldn’t have been no tour, there wouldn’t have been nothing,” Gordon said. “There’s been no negotiations. I was right there in Indiana. I haven’t received no calls, to me personally. They’ve contacted my agent.
“As for now, I don’t know what’s going on. (If the Hornets match) as of right now, I’d be disappointed.”
As a restricted free agent, the Hornets wil have three days to match Gordon’s offer sheet from Phoenix and retain him.
New Orleans offered Gordon a four-year extension last January when the franchise was still owned by the NBA, but he rejected the offer.