Q & A: Indiana sophomore guard Victor Oladipo

  • 10/09/2011 8:03 pm in

Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview.

Christian Watford was first, followed by Remy Abell. Up next is Indiana sophomore Victor Oladipo, who averaged 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season.

Q. How will this team be different than last year? Better?

A. I think we’re just better as a team because we’re more mature is one thing. We have new assets to our team that can help us a lot. I feel as though we’re working harder than we ever have. I feel as though if we continue to do what we have to do and continue to be consistent, we can be successful this year.

Q. Some of the magazines though are still picking you guys ninth in the Big Ten. Do you see that? Does it register (with the team)?

A. We see it all the time. I’m not really worried about rankings. I don’t think this team is really worried about rankings or where they place us because at the end of the day, when the ball’s thrown up, we’re ready to go. They can make their predictions now, but at the end of the year, I don’t think it’s going to be the same.

Q. How different of a team do you think you guys are than you were at the end of last season? How much do you think you’ve changed in the last few months?

A. Everybody has gotten so much better. And we’re continuing to get better every day. We’re real excited for this year to get started and hopefully we can continue to be consistent. I think that the maturity is a really big thing. We’ve become more mature so we’ll how it goes.

Q. What are two or three ways, outside of stats, that Cody’s (Zeller) presence helps Christian (Watford)?

A. Cody’s 6-11, can score around the basket, can put it on the floor and can pass. Christian’s a scorer period. And last year, he was our main scorer. I feel as though everybody knew that. You guys know that, the other team knew that, our team knew that. So he was getting double teamed. He was getting triple teamed. But now, Cody’s going to draw double teams. Other players who’ve improved are going to draw double teams and that’s going to free up everybody else to do what they can do. We’ll see how it goes. Cody’s not only going to help him, but he’s going to help our whole team.

Q. How much different stylistically do you think this team is going to be? It seems like there are a lot more things you guys can do that you couldn’t do a year ago. What do you think some of those things are?

A. Probably going to run a little bit more. Definitely going to run a little bit more, get up and down the floor and have fun with it. We’ll see how it goes this season. We’ve just gotta continue working hard like I said and continue to be consistent because we always can improve.

Q. Coach Crean has talked about getting better at defense. That was something you guys struggled with a little bit last year. What specifically are you guys going to be able to do better defensively than you were a year ago?

A. Definitely guard the ball better. We’re working on that every day, getting over screens. Just becoming a better defensive team period all around. Help side defense, strong side defense, everything. We work on defense a lot in workouts and we need to carry it over to the game. Without defense you can’t win games. Like the old saying, it’s really true. We’ve just got to be consistent in defense and offense. And consistent in listening to the coach and what he has to say.

Q. It seemed like a number of you guys have gotten better at attacking the basket, the dribble drive in the offseason. Have you seen that manifest itself so far in workouts and do you think you guys are a much better dribble drive team than you were hoping to be?

A. Definitely. We’ve improved in everything. Everybody has improved. We’re definitely going to show it this season. Hopefully we just got to continue to improve because there is always room for improvement. So we’re going to continue to improve on our dribble drive, work on it every day to make it consistent. Hopefully we can continue doing that so we can be successful.

Filed to:

  • Kelin Blab

    From Victor I look forward too:

    + His offensive improvement
    + His defensive gambles. I think he can play lanes alot more given Cody and Pritch are behind him as opposed to Bobby C. No offense Bobby but not a defensive deterrent.
    + Him and Will our the primary energy guys.
    + Will Victor start? I go with YES because he is the best defender on the team, could move VJ to a position off the bench where he can thrive. Allows us to play Hulls, VO, Watford, Pritch, and Cody….I think you have alot of length two solid defenders, size, and scoring ability.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    I’m with you on Vic starting over VJ. I think having VJ’s scoring off the bench will be a plus too.

  • Kelin Blab

    Yeah I think and believe VJ has the maturity to accept and embrace this role just as J.Rivers did. Lets be honest VJ is not a great defender but he can put the ball in the basket and we need that coming off the bench. He strengthens a young bench for this season….a healthy creek, roth, VJ, and Remy give you some good options at the guard spot off the bench this year.

  • Anonymous

    I think Vic can be a big impact player this year.  He provides a ton of energy off the bench.  Every time he enters the game, the crowd seems to just scoot to the edge of their seat waiting for him to make some ridiculously athletic play.  He needed to improve his shooting ability and his ball handling, which I believe he did.  If he can be a guy that can drive to the hoop with control, he can be a serious weapon.  Also, he is a very good defender and will be our shutdown guy this year.  Looking for VO to be a key player this year.

  • Anonymous

    You guys still give TP way to much credit…. would shock me if he started. He’s just not good, or kinda good. You want them 2 win ?  Too much talent on the roster now for TP to start. Its just that simple.

  • Kelin Blab

    As a defender he is and will be our best post defender…not even close including Cody. The kid is our biggest body on the roster, could do a lot better with another post threat and less pressure. He is a willing rebounder….not sure what more you want from him…

  • hoosierfan2011

    It’s too early for starting line-ups, but I like Hulls, Oladipo, Sheehey, Watford and Zeller. With VJ3, Remy, Ethrington, TP and Elston the 5 off the bench. this is with Creek not ready to play.

  • Anonymous

    What do I want? How about more than 2.5 points a game. How about more than 3.8 rebounds a game. How about more than 0.7 blocks…or Maybe less than 3.5 fouls a game. Or how about more than 35% FT…Oh! but he’s our best defender…..Your right no way that could be replaced..MY BAD

  • Anonymous

    Love to watch victor play has as much ability as anybody. If he finishes a little better he is going to be exciting. Also seems the team is buying into the defensive side of the ball and that is huge.

  • Anonymous

    You want to start Elston? He may score more but he gets lost on defense.  Jeff Howard?  Pritchard is the best option.  Whether you like it or not he is.  He will defend the post and rebound.  With more attention to Zeller, Pritchard could open up more down low and potentialy score more points.  If you try and start Watford as a PF we will get eaten alive down low by B10 teams.  

  • Kelin Blab

    Our perimeter defense got TP in foul trouble, not his on ball guarding.  His 3.8 rebounds per could be alot better. His ppg…he plays in a dribble drive offense minus kids that can dribble and drive. We are better on the defensive end with Pritchard on the court, check the tape.

  • MitchellBMitch

    I agree Kelin, I believe having VO in that starting line up would produce the strongest from an overall offensive and defensive perspective. Having VJ as the first off the bench and the 2 guard in the second line up (no particular order, just position) of Remy – 1 VJ – 2 Creek – 3 Will – 4 Derek – 5. Those two line ups would provide us a 10 man rotation that would be arguable as deep as any team in the B1G.

    I can’t wait to watch VO mature over the year. Just think as good as he will be in the beginning of this year, by the end he will improved that much more with a 2nd season under his belt. And remember, VO is the one who shot the winning shot against, I think Ferris St., that he hit a 3 late to tie it and then in the next play blocked a guys shot, which was one of his first games. So I think he’s got alot big moments that we have yet to see from him…

    Go Hoosiers…  

  • Anonymous

    I could see a rotation of Jones, Vic, and Sheehey in the starting lineup.  In these three guys you have players that can help the team in different ways.  Jones has a deadly pull up jumper and is crafty at getting to the rim. He has also shown some signs of leadership. Oladipo is pure energy and is a great defender.  Sheehey also provides energy but also showed the ability to guard bigger guys.  I think a rotation could be a good idea based on match-ups, who’s playing well, and who’s not.  I would be okay with any three of these guys in the starting five.

  • MitchellBMitch

    Definitely agree with that HoosierPat. Having those three inter-changable in a line-up is very valuable cause it allows to play our best match-up is so true.

    CTC needs to play the line-up that is most advantageous to exploit our opponents weakness and no more playing back and letting the other team force their game/will on us. Its time we bring our game to the other team no matter who or where it is…this is a mentality that has been missing in previous CTC teams and from VO’s comments i can tell they are starting to feel this way…

    Go Hoosiers…  

  • Anonymous

    Rarely do you see a team as you say with a dribble and drive offense that starts 3 players over 6’8. Just about everyone Ive seen starts  3 guards and uses there speed. With the addition of Zeller ( who runs the court as well as any big man in the country) and CWat this is the best time to take advantage of IUs strenght at the 2/3 positions. I’m sorry I upset you with the comments about TP. But fact is he has got worst every year….Check the stats or tape as you say. I have been an IU fan for 40 years and don’t ever remember a player that started with less basketball IQ

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to jump in late,. Pritchard HAS to start against Ohio St, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Michigan State.  If not, you are asking Zeller or Watford to kill themselves guarding guys like Anthony Davis, Mbakwe, Sullinger, etc,  not to mention the risk of getting them in foul trouble, in games where the opponent has no real post threat, I would agree to put Wat back to the 4 and let CZ play 5

  • Anonymous

    I would have to agree with this line up. but ctc will have to start TP or Elston in games that the other teams have more height. Watford has showed he can’t gaurd guys that are bigger then him or have girth. But man is it nice to have zeller listed in the line up! this season could be very exciting like 18-21wins or around 15-17 that I think is the lowest this team could fall to. Hoosier Nation Pride!!!!

  • Kelin Blab

    Not in the least bit upset, this has been debated tons…..we don’t have a post defender that is as good as Pritchard.

    The dribble drive can start three guys over 6’8 if one of the three (watford) can score off the dribble. For that matter if you look ahead…Zeller, Watford, and Perea can’t play together based on your theory. If we start with three guards and use their speed…we don’t have three guards with speed. We have good guards but not where we want to be.

    If Watford is to every play his best position at the 3, now is the time to do it and that means someone has to play the 4 (Pritchard, Elston, or Howard) Elston played the 3 in high school!

  • IUball

    Pritchard deserves high praise for his season last year. As Kelin said, he was far and away our best post defender and trust me, Cody wants Tom in the starting line-up as much as anybody because Tom is excellent defensively. 

    He shut down Jon Leuer completely both games against Wisconsin and kept Jordan Taylor in front of him on switches. He kept J. Johnson for Purdue out of the paint, making him take tough shots. Purdue pulled away from us with Pritchard on the bench.

    Also MSU beat us in overtime after Pritchard fouled out and nobody could guard Draymond Green.

    Pritchard didn’t pull down many boards because he was doing his job – boxing out the opponents biggest guy.

    I say thank you Tom. I can’t wait to watch him and Cody working together, could easily lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounds.

    Rgd213, watch the first half of our home game vs. Minnesota. That is what you will see from Tom on a regular basis this season.

  • Brklynhoosier

    Very well put.

  • Dschiller3

    Did you watch any game last yr! When? was he a good defender??? He fouled out almost every time he played, So I guess having 6-7 fouls per 40 mins of play is called good Defense! Elston should start bc he can score and spread it out for Cody and Watford. TP coming off bench is Ideal bc he can come in through his weight around and use his fouls then leave ha! Just like the past two season!

  • Oldguy

    All the same, I really, really hope Elston wasn’t blowing smoke this summer when he said Pritchard’s foul shooting is no longer a problem.

  • oneseeded

    I think you are too hard on Prit.  He has confidence issues that hurt him on the offensive end.  But defensively he is solid and the only guy on our roster that can truly bang with Big Ten Centers.  I think Tom is going to have a great season (7 points/6 boards) as our interior defensive pressence.  IMO the biggest stat category for TP is minutes played…the more he stays in the game the better off we are.

  • jaywiz

    judging from the spelling I’d say no.

  • InTheMtns

    I was just thinking the same thing. Interview after interview last season we heard things like “defense is the most important thing,” “defense wins games,” “we know defense is key,””our offense starts with our defense so it has to be good,” “we’re focusing on defense,” etc. I remember all the players’ comments about defense last season because every time I heard a player say it I got so hopeful. In the end, it seems it was just lip service, and not real.  I’m sure they wanted to be better defensively so maybe the players last season actually thought they had bought into it. I think we will see much better defense this year but I’m waiting until I see it before I get too hopeful. Defense, in my opinion, will determine how far our team will go this season.


  • InTheMtns

    When was he good on defense?  Almost every single game.  I doubt that there is a post player on any opposing team who is looking forward to seeing Tom.  See IUball’s post above for a more complete answer.

  • stonaroni

    I see a lot of debate about TP starting, but I think most forget that Will Sheehey played a lot of PF last year because we were that thin in the post area.

    Say what you want, but a kid at 6’11” and extremely coordinated is a far superior defender of the basket than a 6’9″ guy who plays average post defense.  TP may be in good helpside or in good post denial position, but can he alter shots?  Does he have a nose to rebound at all costs?  No, that is what CZ is and what he brings to this team.

    Pay attention to what VO said, they are going to run more this year.  That doesn’t bode well for TP.  I think we see more of the same from him this season.

    In my opinion, IU will run WS out to play the 4 and we will see some 4 guard offense this season from IU.  In a 4 guard offense that gives guys like CW at 6’8″ and WS and AE, both about 6’6″, the ability to out quick their defenders, create separation and open up shots or passing lanes. 

    I think the starting line up looks like this:

    PG Hulls
    SG VO
    SF Watford
    PF Sheehey
    C  Zeller

    Verdell is the 6th man.

    In a 4 guard line up I see:

    PG  Hulls
    SF  VO/Sheehey
    PF  Watford
    C  Zeller

    We cannot keep Sheehey and VO off the floor.  both are extremely athletic and solid defenders who are “TEAM” first players.  I have heard that both have improved, but Sheehey is ready to explode onto the scene this year and make a statement.  I am talking about a role where VJIII and Creek if healthy will see diminished minutes.

  • Anonymous

    VO-play D..get on the boards..keep working on that pull up jumper.. protect the ball when you drive…and they can’t keep you off the floor. TP/Jones/Wat really don’t have the quickness to play outstanding D….and teams will go right at Zeller trying to put him on the bench with foul trouble. Creans got a lot to work with this year..be itneresting to see what he can do with it.

  • Anonymous

    Your bigs are gonna foul more often when the opposing team’s guards blow past your perimeter defense. Either that, or they’re gonna give up the easy points and be down by 40 at half-time. I prefer TPs tough play and his fouls so we can be in a position to win games when we’re not down and out early.

  • IUball

    I agree, defense is always top priority. I think that is why Crean is so excited about Remy. We just lack foot speed defensively. So I believe the players were “buying in” but Jones and Watford just don’t have quickness whereas Oladipo and Sheehey were still learning footwork and technique.

    I really believe with Abell, Sheehey and Oladipo we will have much improved perimeter defense. Also, don’t sleep on Etherington. He is tenacious. Saw a high school game of his where he had several blocks as a weak side defender.

    Keep in mind how much we had to play Roth and Moore last season.

  • InTheMtns

    I’m sure they were “buying in” on the idea and the importance of defense.  And I think they probably thought they were doing their best, but I think several of the players didn’t really internalized the importance of defense.  I saw far too many attempts that lacked effort that were supposed to pass as defense — looked like defense with all the motions but there was no intensity or follow-through (Aceman aptly called it “matador defense”).  We had far too many games where a player or two on the opposing team had career nights. I agree with you about foot speed and some guys just not having quickness and others still learning footwork, but there also was not enough effort. CTC has depth this year and can (and hopefully will) sit players who don’t show effort.