Off-Season To-Do List: Victor Oladipo

Indiana freshman Victor Oladipo drives around Minnesota's Austin Hollins in Minneapolis on Jan. 4.

With the season complete and the offseason officially started for the 2010-11 Indiana Hoosiers, The Hoosier Scoop will have a breakdown of each individual player’s season and what he needs to focus on during the offseason. The eighth player in the series is freshman guard Victor Oladipo. PREVIOUSLY: Christian WatfordVerdell JonesJordan HullsMaurice Creek, Tom Pritchard, Derek Elston and Will Sheehey.

2010-11 STATS: 7.4 points per game (54.7 percent FG, 30.8 percent 3-point, 61.2 percent FT) and 3.7 rebounds a game.  28 assists to 44 turnovers, 34 steals.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Will Sheehey and Tom Pritchard may have provided IU’s dunks of the year, but Oladipo made up much of the rest of the Hoosiers’ highlight reel. Beginning with Hoosier Hysteria, when he slammed over seven elementary school kids in the dunk contest, the freshman from Maryland’s Washington, D.C. suburbs established himself as Indiana’s most electric athlete. He and Sheehey were widely regarded as the Hoosiers’ most energetic players, and they served as catalysts for veteran lineups when the team desperately needed a spark. Oladipo’s vertical was a weapon, as he led the team with 51 offensive rebounds and was dynamite in transition, but he was also one of the Hoosiers’ best defenders. He tied for the team lead in steals with 34 and showed an ability to check ball handlers for 94 feet.

THE TO-DO LIST:

  • Become the team’s go-to defender. Defense was considered Oladipo’s strength when he was at DeMatha High School, and as a freshman at IU, he mostly lived up to that. He has all the tools to be a good defender — lateral quickness, length and strength — and it’s evident he takes it seriously, which is not always the case with high school stars when they arrive in college. He usually drew the assignment of the opponent’s top perimeter scoring threat for at least a few possessions per game and as always defending at least the second or third option when he and senior guard Jeremiah Rivers were on the floor together. There is still room for improvement there, though, and with Rivers graduating, the Hoosiers need him to iron out the kinks quickly. He proved his tenacity, but there were still occasions when he got crossed up, beat off the dribble, lost on screens or simply was caught out of position. He will have to cut down on those mistakes in a season when he will likely draw the assignment of the opponent’s top perimeter scorer each time he’s in the game.
  • Develop every aspect of his offensive game. Oladipo’s athleticism and gravity-defying vertical often allowed him to make some basic moves look spectacular. When he had a wide-open driving lane he could move through it quickly and take off before defenders could get in position. Plus, he could out leap opponents for offensive boards and putbacks. Straight line drives and second-chance points accounted for an overwhelming majority of his points, however, and the rest of his offensive game needs a lot of work. His ball handling is a long way from polished. Though he could finish when he got to the basket, he could rarely get there if he had a defender in front of him. He often lost the ball when he was trying multiple moves and crossovers, and only Will Sheehey had a worst assist to turnover ratio among guards. His pull-up jumper worked on occasion, but it’s nowhere near automatic or a finished product. He’s apparently come a long way as a 3-point shooter, but he still evidently has a lot further to go, as he knocked down just eight 3-pointers this season. One of IU’s biggest problems this season was that their best defenders and their best offensive players were rarely one in the same. It would be crucial for the Hoosiers if he could be reliable on both ends.
  • Free throws, free throws, free throws. This could be part of the previous section, but it deserves its own. Only Christian Watford and Verdell Jones got to the line more often this season than Oladipo did, but Oladipo’s 61.2 percent free throw percentage left a lot of points on the table. As a guard, he simply has to be more automatic. The Hoosiers went to the line 183 fewer times than their opponents this season and made 115 fewer shots. They want to get there more by getting more aggressive drives from players like Oladipo, but they also need him to convert when he gets there.

6 comments

  1. Our perimeter defense really needs to improve next year and it has to start with VO.

    We were last in the Big 10 in 3 point FG% giving up 40.0% in the conference & we were 8th in total FG% giving up 46.2%

  2. VO needs to be contagious. He has all of the tools. And he will learn to play within his abilities. I will enjoy watching this young man develop over the next 3 years!!!

  3. The energy and excitement that both VO and Sheehey bring to the team is great and I’m looking forward to watching them both mature as players and become leaders on this team. One thing VO needs to realize though is every shot doesn’t need to be an ESPN highlight dunk.

  4. I’m with ‘proudhoosier’ – if Crean is going to build a winning program here Sheehey and VO are the guys who could be on the ground floor. The first three years have been a waste, but those two are 2/5ths of a team that I can see putting up another banner (shouldn’t sell Hulls short – he could be special by his senior year). I’m not too optimistic yet, but these guys are at least fun to watch and show the potential to be part of championship teams. Will and Victor – you may have grown up smelling saltwater, but you’re well on your way to earning “Hoosier” status.

  5. If VO can sharpen his shooting from 3 and at the FT line, I will be happy. He can already slash and should improve there as he gets stronger. His pull up game can come more in the years after that.

    VO will probably be the best defender on our team next year. I think he wants to be in that role and I think that, given his personality, having VO in a leadership role on defense is going to help the whole team. I think VO made freshman mistakes this year and was somewhat quiet, but will be one of our most vocal guys on the floor next year. He’ll help everyone get to the right spot.

    VO’s so explosive and he already has a feel for getting to the free throw line. If he can work on that and compete with Watford for most FTAs on the team and hit a percentage above 70 from the line he’ll really pick this team up offensively.

Comments are closed.