The NBA Draft Combine begins Thursday in Chicago, and former Indiana players Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller will be among the players participating. Both Oladipo and Zeller announced last month that they would leave school early for the NBA.
Most teams have done their scouting of all the players entering the draft, and that is unlikely to change based on what they see on Thursday and Friday at the combine. But there are a number of key things NBA teams will learn, such as each player’s official height and weight measurements and what their individual health status is at the present time.
“This is a lot of times the first time coaching staffs have seen these guys,” ESPN’s Chad Ford said Wednesday on a conference call. “First impressions can mean a lot. As far as what they learn from an actual scouting perspective, I don’t think there’s much there. The interview that they do with the players are much bigger because it’s the first time they’re allowed to sit down with the players and actually talk to them. They bring team psychologists in, they bring their team doctors to check them out medically.
“And then it’s the only time that all of these players are going to be on the floor together. You get to see relative size, relative athleticism, relative skill levels compared to each other on the floor at the same time.”
At this point, Oladipo has a higher stock than his former Indiana teammate. He is currently No. 6 on Ford’s Big Board, and the potential is there for him to continue to rise given his work ethic and personality off the court.
One of the few concerns that remains with Oladipo is his size and how close he really is to the 6-foot-5 Indiana listed him at. The teams may learn this week that he is actually an inch or two shorter than that.
“He’s a ridiculous athlete, plays with high energy, high motor, low maintenance guy,” said ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla. “He doesn’t just want to be in the NBA but wants to be an NBA player. … I love him. He’s gonna be a good, solid player.”
Added Ford: ”I’m a little bit higher on Oladipo than Fran and part of it’s the work ethic, part of it’s the way that he’s improved. I think that factors in to NBA scouts decisions. Have you worked on your game? Are you improving every year? Are you going to be willing to put the work into the gym that’s necessary? And I think no one has those questions about Oladipo.
“When you see how much he’s improved from year to year, you can start to project that he’s gonna keep working on that jump shot, that he’s gonna keep tightening that handle and becoming better off the dribble. And then defensively, he’s already arrived. He’s a guy that can defend multiple positions in the NBA. I’m a little bit worried about the size, but he’s going to have length and he’s going to have explosive athletic ability. He’s one of the three or four best athletes in this draft. And then he has a motor, and I really feel like that’s an NBA skill. He goes hard all the time.”
Ford talked to former Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. at a workout earlier this week and asked him if he were selecting high in the draft whether he’d rather have Oladipo or Kansas’ Ben McLemore (No. 2 on Ford’s Big Board). Hardaway Jr. played against both Oladipo and McLemore last season.
Inside the Hall had a chance to speak one-on-one this morning with the newest Hoosier, Evan Gordon, about his decision to play his final season of college basketball in Bloomington.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Inside the Hall: It’s been a quick turnaround here, but talk about why you picked Indiana and how you fit into the program.
Evan Gordon: First, they have a great masters in sports administration program. I think that’s one of the biggest keys was the masters program that I was going to get into. Secondly, being from Indiana, going to IU is probably the second greatest accomplishment besides playing in the NBA. Third, coach (Tom) Crean has those guys winning. They just came off a great season and to keep that tradition rolling is another great key. I’m also close to home and my family can come see me and I can go see my family at any time.
ITH: What do remember about when Eric played at Indiana? Obviously a lot has changed since that time.
EG: I kind of remember everything. I used to go down there all the time just to hang out with him and be around him. I got to see them practice and see them play almost every home game. I was definitely with it and in it when he was. He loves the Indiana tradition and he still goes back. He always says, ‘man, I wish I would have stayed in college,’ so he goes back and visits IU constantly. You can just see the tremendous respect he has for their program.
ITH: As far as what you can bring to the program next year, talk a little about where your game is at this point and how you think you’ll fit in next year.
EG: Just playing the combo guard. Yogi (Ferrell) is there and they needed guards so I’m another guard that can score, can shoot and can pass. I think just playing on the perimeter and being a little older than the rest of the guys is also going to help me in the leadership factor on the team. Just playing a primary scoring role and being a leader I think is going to be my main focus in what we’re looking to do next year.
After a Saturday visit to Bloomington and a Tuesday stop at Butler, Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon has decided where he’ll play his final season of college basketball.
As first reported by Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star and then confirmed by Gordon himself on Twitter, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound guard will play for Indiana next season.
“I have decided to become a Hoosier this coming season,” Gordon said on Twitter this morning.
Gordon, the younger brother of former IU All-American Eric Gordon, averaged 10.1 points in 32 minutes per game last season for the Sun Devils and shot 34.7 percent on 3-pointers.
He came to Arizona State in the summer of 2011 after playing his first two seasons at Liberty, where he averaged 14.4 points as a sophomore.
The addition of Gordon brings Indiana to the scholarship limit of 13 players for next season.
Single plays for the 2013-2014 Big Ten schedule were announced Tuesday afternoon and Indiana will play Iowa (home), Minnesota (away), Ohio State (home) and Purdue (away) just once next season.
In the past, the conference rotated single plays, meaning IU would have kept the same single play opponents next season but swapped venues. That’s unlikely to be the case in 2014-2015 as Maryland and Rutgers join the league. With 14 teams in the Big Ten beginning next season, teams will play five league opponents twice and eight opponents once, which could result in an extremely unbalanced schedule for some teams.
It is possible, according to Scott Dochterman of The Gazette, that protected rivalries could be enacted as early as next season, but the Big Ten has no plans to split basketball into divisions.
The complete 2013-2014 Indiana schedule won’t be released until later this summer, but in addition to the 18 league games, five non-conference games have already been announced. Indiana will play two of the following three teams in Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic: Boston College, Connecticut and Washington, at Syracuse in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, Evansville at Assembly Hall and Notre Dame at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the Crossroads Classic.
Up to eight additional non-conference games will be announced at a later date, two of which will be part of the 2K Sports Classic to be played at Assembly Hall.
@HopslamHoosier writes: how much should we take vonleh’s four year player comments with a grain of salt? Or should we?
I’m not surprised by his comments. (You can read them here.) Crean has said several times that while he’s not opposed to recruiting one-and-done players, he’s also not looking for players who won’t unpack their bags in Bloomington. It seems like Noah is coming into the situation with the attitude that he’ll be in college until he’s fully prepared to take the next step in his career. In other words, he’s not viewing IU as a quick pit stop to the NBA. That’s the attitude Crean covets when recruiting the top players.
Cody Zeller came to Bloomington with a similar attitude of staying for four years, but ended up leaving early because he was prepared to do so. I see the Vonleh situation in a comparable light. He’s coming to college to be a student athlete, to win games and get better. If he has the opportunity to leave early and he feels he’s ready, I think that’s what he’ll do. And who could blame him if that’s what happens? But to answer your question, I believe he’s genuine in his comments. – Alex Bozich
@mattyork1941 writes: how is austin etherington’s rehab progressing? Will he be ready and have a significant role next year?
It sounds like Etherington is on track to be healthy for next season. Here’s the latest from Tom Crean from a little more than a week ago: “Austin Etherington continues to make strides with his knee rehab, strength and jump shot,” Crean tweeted. “His shooting was very impressive last Friday.”
As for the role Etherington will play, I’m not sure I foresee him taking on a significant role. That’s not to say he can’t find his niche as a perimeter shooter, but he’ll have stiff competition for perimeter minutes with guys like Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams and Collin Hartman all vying for time. — Alex Bozich
@RealAdamJ writes: What impact do you expect from Perea and Jurkin next year? How big is another summer of conditioning for these guys?
Hanner Mosquera-Perea has been impressive in workouts this spring and the biggest thing for him this offseason is getting in the gym and taking on that 365 day a year mentality that Crean frequently references. If that happens, there’s no reason to believe that Mosquera-Perea won’t be a rotation guy next season. He has the talent and athleticism to do so. The suspension last season was a significant setback for him because he lost valuable time against several of IU’s early non-conference opponents.
As for Jurkin, his foot injury hampered him throughout Big Ten season and if he is to contribute next season, getting healthy is the first thing on the checklist. — Alex Bozich
@MShlyank writes: how realistic is it to repeat as Big 10 champs?
(Photo credit: Dallas News)
It was another big weekend in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League play for five-star forward Elijah Thomas.
After averaging 15.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in EYBL session one in Los Angeles and 15.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in session two in Hampton, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound big man continued his stellar play this spring in Dallas for session three.
Thomas averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks as Team Texas Elite finished the weekend 3-1 and improved its overall record to 8-5 as it battles for a spot in July’s Peach Jam. But rather than focusing on individual numbers, Thomas made it clear that he’s a team-first guy.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates,” he told Inside the Hall. “All my teammates, they get us the ball and we play together as team. When we play as a team, everybody shines.”
As one of the most coveted post players in the class of 2015, the list of schools showing interest in Thomas is full of the nation’s best schools.
Indiana started recruiting him earlier this year and offered a scholarship in late April.
“They told me I fit their program well,” Thomas said. “They have a system but they feed their skilled players, so if you’re skilled you can score the ball and play in a system that fits your game. I like that a lot.”
Thomas, who plays at Prime Prep Academy in Texas, is taking his time with the recruiting process. He said he hasn’t visited any schools to this point.