You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Eyeing IU

  • Rahrig on Rimington watch list
    Hoosiers center Collin Rahrig was placed on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's top player at that position.
  • Hoosiers add Illinois State transfer
    Illinois State team captain Nick Zeisloft will transfer to Indiana to complete his final two years of college eligibility, the Hoosiers announced Monday.
  • Wynn on Paul Hornung Award watch list
    Hoosiers wide receiver Shane Wynn was one of 47 players named Monday to the Paul Hornung Award watch list.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Victor Oladipo is to announce his decision to enter the NBA Draft this afternoon, a source has confirmed to The Journal Gazette. Oladipo became the first Hoosier named a first-team All-American since A.J. Guyton in 2000.

Oladipo is NBA-bound

DeMatha (Md.) Catholic basketball coach Mike Jones has watched plenty of "superstars" walk the halls of his school and run the court with his program.

That's what makes Indiana guard Victor Oladipo – first a DeMatha role player at the Maryland school, then an IU defensive stopper, and now a prospective NBA draft lottery pick – so special to the longtime coach of one of the best private schools in the country.

"He wasn't the prodigy when he got to us," Jones said. "He's a self-made player."

The 6-foot-4 junior created himself a legacy as a Hoosier, as well. Next, he will try to do so at the NBA level.

"It's been an honor to play here at Indiana," Oladipo said. "To be an Indiana Hoosier means so much to me, and I'll always be an Indiana Hoosier.

"This is my home."

Oladipo made his decision to enter the NBA draft official Tuesday at a news conference with IU coach Tom Crean. He averaged 13.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals while raking in awards in his final season with the Hoosiers.

"The numbers, they don't tell the story," Crean said from a platform set up on Branch McCracken Court in Assembly Hall. "The story has been written inside this building, with extra work in Cook Hall, in the film room."

Next up is Cody Zeller, who will announce his future plans today. Zeller, a 7-foot forward, is also projected as a lottery pick in this year's draft.

Oladipo's story has been one of consistent improvement and massive gains from one season to the next. And now, Crean said, Oladipo – who will graduate in May – is all but assured of being a lottery pick.

NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony of Draft Express put Oladipo as the No. 5 pick in the draft, going to the Detroit Pistons. The guard, who has improved tremendously over the course of his career at IU, possesses all the intangibles and more now, Givony said.

"He's probably one of the more athletic wing players in this draft," Givony said. "That's attractive right off the bat. He doesn't have great size, but he has a good wingspan and a good frame. …

"He rebounds. He hustles. He does all the little things."

Oladipo hit 44 percent from three-point range this season, to complement his improved ball handling and other skills.

Those strides led him to Associated Press first-team All-America honors; Sporting News Player of the Year recognition; and a co-Defensive Player of the Year accolade from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Oladipo earned plenty of recognition at the conference level, earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten first-team honors.

"I would like to thank coach Crean for believing in me when it seemed like no one else would," said Oladipo, who was lightly recruited out of high school before Crean offered him a scholarship. "It's truly a dream come true, but it became a goal. To actually achieve my goal is an amazing feeling. I've just got to keep working."

Crean said he is in full support of Oladipo's decision and that lottery money after a standout season was "too good to pass up." The guard does not yet have an agent, and he plans to finish his degree and graduate May 4, his birthday. He will work out with IU strength and conditioning coach Je'Ney Jackson until then.

From there, Oladipo said, the only certainty is memories from Bloomington that will last a lifetime.

"I'll always remember wearing those candy stripes, playing on this floor, playing with these guys," Oladipo said. "I'll never forget it, and I hope they'll never forget me."

smorrison@jg.net

Advertisement