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Indiana University

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Pair of Hoosiers could go in hurry

Oladipo
Watford
Zeller

– A pair of former Indiana players expect to hear their names called early after the NBA draft begins at 7 tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Former Hoosiers Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller are among the projected lottery picks in today’s draft.

DraftExpress.com analyst Jonathan Givony said this draft lacks difference-makers but isn’t as weak as it seems.

“I think it’s a fairly normal draft in terms of depth,” said Givony, who has covered the draft for more than a decade. “At the top, you’re just not seeing that franchise-changing prospect. There’s no Lebron James, there’s no Derrick Rose.”

Here’s a look at the Hoosiers who could have their names called on draft day:

Victor Oladipo

Position: Guard

Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 213 pounds

Projection: Top 5

The skinny: Oladipo has the skills, work ethic and personality that have made him the most talked-about player.

He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection, the Sporting News Player of the Year, an Associated Press first-team All-American and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

Pretty good for a player that barely cracked the top-150 prospects when he signed with the Hoosiers in 2010.

Givony’s take: “He’s probably one of the most athletic wing players in this draft. That’s attractive right off the bat. … He’s probably one of the best defenders in this draft. The fact that he’s improved as much as he has as a three-point shooter definitely helps.”

Cody Zeller

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 7-foot, 230 pounds

Projection: Top 15

The skinny: There is little doubt that Zeller, despite some varying opinions on his college season, is one of the best offensive forwards in this draft class. He is polished on the block and away from it, and while he didn’t show much of it during his final season at IU, he can play away from the rim and hit jump shots.

Zeller also shocked some with his athleticism during pre-draft workouts. He had a standing vertical leap of 35.5 inches and a 3.15-second finish in the three-quarter-court sprint.

Givony’s take: “It was very obvious that people were expecting things that just are not realistic. I think that hurts him more in the eyes of the fans than the guys in the NBA. … He’s an offensive juggernaut.”

Christian Watford

Position: Forward

Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 224 pounds

Projection: Late second round/undrafted free agent

The skinny: Watford has torn through workouts in the two weeks leading up to the draft, and positive reviews have put him in the top-100 prospects for ESPN and DraftExpress.com before draft day.

Whether that’s good enough to put him on the board today is another story.

Givony’s take: “If you start counting down the number of power forwards in this draft that can shoot the ball, you’re not going to make it past 10. He’s got a skill that he can maybe hang his hat on.”

smorrison@jg.net

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