Opening night of the NBA season is less than a month away and training camps have opened across the league this week along with media day events taking place.
Here’s a look around the league at former Indiana players and their start to the 2014-2015 season, which includes some video interviews, quotes and links:
· Victor Oladipo is expected to take on larger role in his second season in Orlando and will look to help bring along rookie Elfrid Payton, who has a similar background in many ways.
· In Charlotte, rookie Noah Vonleh is still recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia, but is hoping to get medical clearance soon.
According to the Charlotte Observer:
Vonleh said he was playing pickup basketball on Indiana’s campus when he felt a “pop,” which he thought was just a groin pull. But the pain grew worse, and he had an MRI that revealed a tear. Vonleh is now able to work out on an elliptical machine and start some light shooting and jogging. He says he’s feeling much better in the last week.
Former Indiana forward Christian Watford has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Boston Celtics, he told Inside the Hall early Thursday morning.
Players on non-guaranteed contracts are typically invited to training camp with a chance to make the team’s roster, but can also be cut at any time.
Watford, a 2013 IU graduate, played last season with Hapoel Eilat in Israel and had multiple NBA Summer League stints last month, with the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors.
In 37 games for Eilat, the 6-foot-9 Watford averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and posted an effective field goal percentage of 61.1.
With the Pistons in Orlando, Watford averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and averaged 2.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game with the Warriors in Las Vegas.
Watford finished his IU career with 1,730 points — ranking ninth in school history — and a 42.4 career 3-point shooting percentage — also ninth in school history.
Behind a late scoring barrage from Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls, Indiana surged to defeat Purdue, 116-113 in the second annual alumni game between the schools at IUPUI on Saturday night.
You can view final stats from the game at this link and check out 30 photos from Jamie Owens from the event in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. You can purchase prints from various Indiana games and other events from JScottSports.com.
Five former Indiana players — Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Noah Vonleh, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford — participated in the NBA summer league, which concludes later today in Las Vegas.
Oladipo played in the Orlando summer league, while Watford played both in Orlando and Las Vegas. Zeller, Vonleh and Sheehey played in Vegas. Here’s a look at how all five players performed:
· Zeller, Charlotte: 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals in 27.7 minutes per game.
The sample size was small — just three games — but the results were encouraging for Zeller, who may be in line for a bigger role following the departure of Josh McRoberts to Miami via free agency. Most impressive about Zeller’s play was his shooting from the field (58.6 percent) and the fact that he got to the line 20 times over three games.
His play was enough to draw the praise of Amin Elhassan at ESPN Insider:
Zeller has looked a lot more assertive on the floor this year and more sure of himself, and that confidence has definitely manifested itself in the box score, where he has shot an impressive 63 percent from the field (over his first two games). His combination of size and speed makes him an extremely tough cover, and he’s finding ways to get open looks around the rim by being active and taking full advantage of his physical gifts.
Former Indiana forward Christian Watford hasn’t given up on his dream of making the NBA.
As first reported by David Pick of Eurobasket.com and Dustin Dopirak of The Herald-Times, Watford will play with the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Pro summer league from July 5-11 in Orlando and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA summer league from July 11-21 in Las Vegas.
Watford is coming off his rookie season in the Israel Winner League with Hapoel Eilat, where he averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 37 games. The Birmingham native shot 51.5 percent from the field and 79.3 percent from the free throw line.
Last summer, Watford played in for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando summer league and the Dallas Mavericks in the Vegas summer league.
Periodically throughout their seasons, 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 March update:
· Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Stats: 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals in 31.7 minutes per game
Notes: Oladipo and the Magic aren’t in the NBA playoff race, but he is in a battle with Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams for the Rookie of the Year award. Carter-Williams is the leader at this point and Oladipo missed a couple of games since our last update with an ankle injury, which certainly didn’t help his cause. Regardless of who wins the award, it’s hard to look at Oladipo’s debut NBA season as anything less than a success when you look at the numbers he’s been able to put up from an individual standpoint.
Notable recent performance: 15 points, six assists and three rebounds in a 105-101 loss to Washington on March 14.
(Photo credit: Sportowefakty.pl)
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 latest update:
· Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Stats: 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals in 31.5 minutes per game
Notes: Oladipo participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge last Friday at NBA All-Star weekend and finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists for Team Webber, which fell to Team Hill, 142-136. The former IU star remains in the hunt for the league’s rookie of the year award with Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, the current front runner, and Utah’s Trey Burke. He has struggled, however, coming out of the All-Star break with just a total of 10 points in losses to Cleveland and Milwaukee.
Notable recent performance: 23 points, four rebounds and four assists in a 93-92 win over Indiana on Feb. 9.