The day that Cody Zeller committed to Indiana will be remembered as a day that played a huge role in the turnaround of a broken Hoosier basketball program. He is, without a doubt, a lottery pick for the NBA draft. However, there could possibly be another top pick on this surging Indiana squad.
In 2010, Victor Oladipo stepped foot on Indiana’s campus. Reigning from the famous DeMatha High School, this guard was only the 54th two guard in his recruiting class. Now, he can be considered for player of the year. Victor’s development since his freshman year, when the Hoosiers only won 12 games, has been incredible. Currently averaging 13.8 points per game, Victor is the team’s second leading scorer, just behind Zeller. But take away his points per game number, and focus on other things, like his play on the other side of the ball. Oladipo has developed into one of the best on-the-ball defenders at the college level. His wingspan is a nightmare, especially when he is put on oppents’ point guards. Which, he has proved his lateral speed when he did so (We all remember his steal against Aaron Craft on New Year’s Eve 2011).
One of the biggest criticisms against Victor was his shooting ability during his first two years. There is no doubt that he can beat any defender off the dribble, especially using his signature move of catching the ball and power dribbling down the baseline for an easy layup or dunk. However, this 2012-13 season has showed his work ethic of getting a better shot.
I’m going to go through some simple numbers just to prove this:
Freshman Year: .547 FG% and .308 3P%
Sophomore Year: .471 FG% and .208 3P%
Junior (Current) Year: .683 FG% and .480 3P%
His improvement is something that everyone can notice. Take his ability to score from anywhere on the court and throw in his ability to be an absolute pest on defense, and you get a player that can play at the next level.