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.
Indiana’s 2012-2013 Big Ten championship team has a fifth player in professional basketball as Christian Watford signed with Hapoel Eliat in Israel on Wednesday.
Watford joins Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Bobcats), Jordan Hulls (Slupsk Energa Czarni/Polish Basketball League) and Derek Elston (Floriana Francesco Fenech Greens/Maltese Powerade League) as the latest Indiana player to ink a professional deal.
Watford, who was not picked in June’s NBA Draft, played for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Summer League and the Dallas Mavericks in the Vegas Summer League, opted to head overseas for a guaranteed contract rather than trying to catch on in the NBA via the Developmental League.
“I had four or five offers from different places in Hungary, Russia Germany but I felt this was the right fit for me,” Watford told IUHoosiers.com. “What really persuaded me to go to Eilat was the great feedback I got from Americans who had played on that team.”
As a senior at Indiana, Watford averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and shot 48.4 percent from 3-point range.
He finished his career in Bloomington in the No. 9 spot on the all-time scoring list.
Former Indiana All-American Victor Oladipo, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, and Christian Watford will make their professional debuts on Sunday in the NBA Summer League in Orlando.
The Orlando Magic potentially giving Oladipo minutes at the point guard position is one of the major story lines to watch in Orlando, while Watford, who went undrafted, will be trying to impress decision makers with the Indiana Pacers.
“I’m a guard, so whatever guard position they want me to run I feel comfortable running it,’’ Oladipo told OrlandoMagic.com. “I pretty much did the same thing at Indiana and ran some (point guard) there. I’ll just do whatever they need in order to help us win. If they need me to play there for us to win, that sounds good to me.’’
Indiana fans will have a chance to watch both players participate in the summer league, as NBA TV will be broadcasting the games.
Oladipo plays at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday and Watford takes the court at 3 p.m. ET. All ten teams in the league will play four games before Friday’s championship.
Watford is also expected to play in the Las Vegas Summer League later this month with the Dallas Mavericks. Cody Zeller will also participate with the Charlotte Bobcats in that league.
Here’s the complete schedule for both players in Orlando (all times eastern):
Oladipo – Orlando Magic
Sunday, July 7 – vs. Boston at 11 a.m.
Monday, July 8 – vs. Oklahoma City at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, July 9 – vs. Miami at 5 p.m.
Thursday, July 11 – vs. Philadelphia at 5 p.m.
Watford – Indiana Pacers
Sunday, July 7 – vs. Oklahoma City at 3 p.m.
Monday, July 8 – vs. Philadelphia at 1 p.m.
Tuesday, July 9 – vs. Boston at 11 a.m.
Thursday, July 11 – vs. Utah at 11 a.m.
Former Indiana forward Christian Watford wasn’t drafted last night, but he’ll still get a shot to play in the NBA.
After working out for more than 15 teams, Watford had some second round interest, but didn’t hear his name called.
He’ll now have to play his way onto a roster and he could get that chance beginning in the NBA Summer League with the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, according to Scott Agness of Pacers.com.
Watford confirmed that the Pacers and Mavs deal is the most likely scenario to Dustin Dopirak of The Herald-Times, but said that nothing has been finalized. According to Dopirak, the Pacers play in Orlando from July 7-12 and the Mavs play in Las Vegas July 12-22.
Indiana coach Tom Crean, who was available Friday morning via teleconference to discuss last night’s draft, said Watford was “highly disappointed” that he wasn’t picked and added that “there were quite a few scenarios inside of it that just didn’t come to fruition” last night.
That said, Crean believes Watford has a great opportunity ahead of himself to earn a spot in the league and said that the Birmingham native received a lot of positive feedback in workouts around the league.
“I think eliminated a lot of questions that people might have had about him,” Crean said. “What I gave him last night was that nobody drafted Wes Matthews a couple of years ago.”
Matthews, who played for Crean at Marquette, went undrafted in 2009 and played his way to a 5-year, $34 million dollar contract after one season.
As a senior at Indiana, Watford averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and shot 48.4 percent from 3-point range. He finished his career in Bloomington in the No. 9 spot on the all-time scoring list.
Just one week remains until the 2013 NBA Draft and with several mock drafts updated this week, it’s time for another look at where Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are currently projected to be selected as well as some recent buzz on Christian Watford.
Victor Oladipo ESPN: (2 to Orlando) Draft Express: (5 to Phoenix) NBADraft.net: (7 to Sacramento) SheridanHoops.com: (2 to Orlando)
· Analysis: Oladipo worked out Wednesday in Cleveland along with Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Jamaal Franklin. He’s also worked out for Phoenix and Orlando, the two teams most frequently mentioned as potential landing spots, and declined a workout for the Washington Wizards, according to The Washington Post. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford said Tuesday on Sportscenter that the Cavaliers haven’t decided which direction they’ll go with the No. 1 pick and the fact that Oladipo, McLemore and Porter were all brought in this week seems to indicate the franchise is doing its due diligence. That said, Ford is still projecting Nerlens Noel at No. 1 while adding that Oladipo has the upper hand over McLemore at No. 2 to Orlando.
· Expert Opinion: “With a potential hole at shooting guard to fill, the Magic have their choice of Ben McLemore and Oladipo. Both guards represent better value and have higher ceilings than Trey Burke. The current preference is Oladipo, who projects as a better defender and is a better athlete than McLemore. Although McLemore has been as high as No. 1 in our mocks, Oladipo looks to be making a push. Considering Orlando GM Rob Hennigan came from Oklahoma City, going with a player that has a high upside, high character and is very long and athletic makes the most sense. While Oladipo has continually risen up NBA draft boards, McLemore has started to slip a bit, and that could see him fall more than initially anticipated.” – SheridanHoops.com.
· Height w/o Shoes: 6′ 10.75” · Height with Shoes: 7′ 0.25” · Wt.: 230 · Wingspan: 6’10.75″ · Reach: 8’10” · Body Fat: 4.75 · Hand Length: 8.5 · Hand Width: 10.5 · 3/4 sprint: 3.15 · Lane agility: 10.82 · Modified lane agility: 2.69 · Standing vertical: 35.5″ · Max vertical: 37.5″
· Analysis: After drawing more scrutiny than any other player during the college hoops season, Zeller stepped onto the floor on Friday at the combine and stood out in the testing against his peers. His standing vertical of 35.5 inches was the best ever recorded at the combine for a player 6-foot-9 or taller. Zeller also fared favorably in the 3/4 sprint, lane agility and modified lane agility tests. Zeller was criticized for his play against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament, but his athleticism really stood out at the combine and that should help him move up in the draft.
At last month’s Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Louisville, 2013 Germantown (Wis.) forward and Indiana signee Luke Fischer said he wasn’t concerned about where he fell in the national rankings.
“It doesn’t really bother me that much at all. I really don’t care about rankings,” he told Inside the Hall. “They don’t really mean much to me. I’ve just always gone out there and played and have done my own thing.”
Despite leading his high school to two straight undefeated state championships and winning Mr. Basketball, Fischer isn’t included in the Rivals.com or Scout.com top 100.
But one of the three major services, ESPN, took notice of Fischer’s production as a senior and gave him a major bump in its final 2013 rankings that were released on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-10, 210-pound big man jumped from No. 67 to No. 34 after averaging 21.3 and 9.5 rebounds as a senior.
Three other IU signees — Noah Vonleh (13), Troy Williams (54) and Stanford Robinson (99) — were also included in the ESPNU Top 100.
With the passing of the NBA’s early entry deadline for the draft on April 30, several publications have updated their mock drafts and Indiana junior Victor Oladipo and sophomore Cody Zeller are unanimously in the lottery.
The NBA will hold its annual combine later this month in Chicago and the event will air live on the following times and dates: 10 a.m. May 16, ESPNU; 2 p.m. May 16, ESPN2; 10 a.m. May 17, ESPNU; 2 p.m. May 17, ESPN2.
Here’s a look at where each player is currently projected:
As the 2011-12 college hoops season wrapped and many national pundits ranked the Hoosiers No. 1 heading into this past season — a ranking that eventually carried over to the official AP preseason Top 25 — there was one black mark on Indiana’s resumé: its defense.
“Indiana may well be the proper pick as the best team in the land, but I think if you locked people in a room in late March and made each individual figure it out on his or her own, it wouldn’t have been nearly as obvious that a team with a suspect defense last season should be the best team in the land this season, and at least a few people would have struggled to put them in the top five,” wrote Stats Lord Ken Pomeroy in late October.
ESPN’s Blog Star Eamonn Brennan on the same day: “As the Hoosiers themselves will readily admit, they were not a good defensive team last season. It is rare for a team with a defense so mediocre — they finished ranked No. 64 in adjusted defensive efficiency — to seriously contend for a national title the next season.”
All true and fair. But Indiana quickly shed such a reputation once the ball tipped on the season. It would finish the year No. 13 in adjusted defensive efficiency and show tremendous improvement across the board. The biggest change? Its communication and commitment to team defense. They understood when to switch, when to rotate, when to help and when to stay home. They held each other accountable. They realized good defense could turn into a quick transition bucket, that a turnover or long rebound often meant a dunk or 3-pointer on the other end.
The numbers bear it out. Where Indiana in seasons past struggled to defend the 3-point line — remember games like this or this or this? — they held opponents to a 30.4 percent mark from distance in 2012-2013, 30th best in the nation. An opponent 2-point percentage mark of 43.2 (No. 32) and eFG percentage of 44.0 (No. 15) also had them among the top teams in the nation.