Indiana Basketball: OG Anunoby is poised for stardom

OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors. ( (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors. ( (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Former Indiana Basketball player OG Anunoby is on the come up

OG Anunoby has had himself a pretty incredible second-round series. The Toronto Raptors’ first-round series against a depleted Brooklyn Nets team was undoubtedly the most boring matchup in the playoffs, however, they’ve made up for that lack of excitement in round two.

The Raptors began their matchup against the Boston Celtics by losing two games. Toronto was nearly down three games to none until Anunoby came through in the clutch with a three-point shot to beat the buzzer with no time remaining.

Anunoby’s heroics have not been in vain. Toronto clawed their way back into the series, and last night faced an elimination game and a chance to send the series to game seven. Both teams fought hard and the game ended up going into double overtime. The Celtics got out to a quick four-point lead to start double OT, but the Raptors stayed with it and — with the help of Anunoby — ended up winning the game.

Anunoby hit another clutch shot with just under one minute remaining in the extra period to put the Raptors up by one and ultimately putting them in the position to win the game.

Having an NBA career like this goes to show the phenomenal progress the former Hoosier has made. Anunoby was a good college player in his sophomore year, but he only played in 16 games that season due to injury (with only 10 starts). You could see the tools were there, but when he announced his intentions to go to the NBA Draft, it seemed a bit premature.

My goodness has he made the correct decision. He went from that promising but ultimately unproven career at Indiana to guarding Lebron freaking James in the Eastern Conference finals as a rookie — and he actually did a pretty good job.

This season, Anunoby has shown growth as a player. He has hit 39% of his threes, taken steps forward on defense, and been a key starter on a team that has outperformed all expectations. On top of the skill he has, he also has the mentality of an elite player in a role player-sized package. He has shown fearlessness in taking big-time shots and knocking them down, but he never forces anything during games. He knows his role on the Raptors is to shoot open threes and play incredible defense on the wing, and he does this brilliantly game-in and game-out.

Anunoby has made himself one of the more valuable trade assets in all of basketball. Most Indiana fans didn’t even see this coming. It’s a shame that Assembly Hall was never able to celebrate his career quite like Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, or even Eric Gordon. It’s hard to even remember a specific OG Anunoby moment at IU.

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Make no mistake about it though, Anunoby is becoming a force in the NBA. Oladipo still holds the crown for top Hoosier in the NBA right now, but Anunoby could be coming for it soon. Oladipo could eventually return to his All-NBA status which he held before his ruptured quadriceps, but he hasn’t looked the part quite yet. Anunoby just recently turned 23 while Oladipo is 28. Anunoby has a lot more left to show us. His best basketball is ahead of him.