LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Former Indiana All-American Victor Oladipo is entering his third NBA season with the Orlando Magic and earlier this week, he was at the KFC Yum! Center for a preseason game against the Miami Heat.
Following shootaround on Wednesday afternoon, Oladipo spoke to Inside the Hall and other assembled media about a variety of topics. We’ve transcribed some of those comments below in a Q & A format:
As Tom Crean built his first Indiana recruiting classes, he sold his future vision of the program. Winning would be scarce to start. But stick with the hard-working culture and the long hours that come with it, and the on-court success would come.
Within that culture is an attention to detail on all aspects of a basketball player. Add it up year over year and Crean has shown a strong suit for player development. It’s been a major foundation for his program building at Marquette and Indiana.
It’s late June, recruiting won’t heat up until a couple of weeks into July and thus, there’s finally some time to dig into one of the list ideas we’ve been kicking around in recent weeks for offseason content.
As we enter season eight of Tom Crean’s time in Bloomington, it’s time for our ranking of the top 10 players to play for the Hoosiers in his tenure:
10. James Blackmon Jr. (2014-present)
It will interesting to see where Blackmon Jr. ultimately ends up if this list is reexamined when his career is over. But as it stands, it’s hard to warrant placing him higher given that he’s played just one season. Still, Blackmon Jr. accomplished a lot offensively in his first season. He ranked sixth in the country among all freshman in scoring at 15.7 points per game and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. He also set the freshman record for 3-pointers made in a season (77), breaking a mark set by Eric Gordon. If Blackmon Jr. continues the scoring pace he exhibited as a freshman and stays until he’s a junior, he’s going to go down as one of the better backcourt scorers to ever play for the Hoosiers.
“I thought they did a great job (this past season), but we do need an inside presence,” Oladipo said. “They need an inside presence, especially defensively, someone to protect the paint and rebound. So he’s going to be big for us. He’s gonna be a huge help.”
Bryant finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the East team, which fell 118-116 to the West, in the Jordan Brand Classic.
He was 5-of-10 from the field, 0-of-3 on 3-pointers and 1-of-2 from the free throw line.
The NBA’s regular season is complete and just one of the four Hoosiers currently in the league, Eric Gordon, is on a playoff team. Here’s a look at how Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Gordon and Noah Vonleh fared this season:
· Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic Stats (72 games): 17.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 steals in 35.7 minutes per game
Notes: Oladipo had an injury setback early in the season, but recovered nicely for a very solid sophomore season in the NBA. His scoring average was up more than four points per game and his shooting percentage was up as well – although there’s plenty of work to do in terms of improving efficiency. In Oladipo and Elfrid Payton, the Magic have one of the more intriguing young backcourts in the league, but more changes are coming for this franchise in the offseason as Jacque Vaughn was let go in-season and the team has yet to hire a permanent replacement.
Quotable: “This is temporary. So that’s motivation in itself. This year — we just need to use it as fuel and fire and go out and work this summer, and this summer needs to be all about winning. We need to come back and have that mentality to do whatever it takes to win.” – Oladipo after Orlando’s final regular season game.