Oladipo goes No. 2 to the Magic, Zeller No. 4 to the Bobcats

Even if the worst projections came to pass for Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller on Thursday night, the Indiana All-Americans were still going to make history.
No one saw Oladipo falling much further past the No. 5 spot where the Phoenix Suns were expected to jump on him, and no one suspected that the Philadelphia 76ers would pass on Zeller if he were available at No. 11. That would have been enough to give Indiana two lottery picks in one draft for the first time in the lottery era, which began in 1985.
But the 76ers never got a chance to consider Zeller and both players were gone before the Suns picked at No. 5. After UNLV’s Anthony Bennett went first to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oladipo was taken immediately after by the Magic at No. 2. Zeller followed two picks later at No. 4, making them the first two Hoosiers ever to be taken in the top five of the NBA Draft. The closest an Indiana duo came was in 1976 when Scott May was taken second by the Chicago Bulls and Quinn Buckner went No. 7 to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Oladipo was the highest Indiana player taken since 1981 when Isiah Thomas went No. 2 overall to the Detroit Pistons. His selection served as another landmark in his meteoric rise. The unheralded recruit was ranked as the No. 144 player in the Class of 2010 and wasn’t even an all-conference player in the 2011-12 season, but his stock skyrocketed this season and he was named a first-team All-American as well as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
“I’m just gonna come in and help the program,” Oladipo told ESPN as soon as he was picked. I’m gonna come in and help impact the program in a positive way on both ends of the floor. I’m gonna come in. I’m gonna work my butt off. I’m gonna bring the work ethic that they’ve probably never seen before, because I want it that bad. I’m gonna help that program get back to where it needs to be and that’s getting wins.”
Oladipo was barely on the draft radar at all, but the 6-foot-4, 213-pounder continued to display his jaw-dropping athleticism — he posted a 42-inch maximum vertical leap at the NBA Draft Combine at Chicago in May — while polishing an offensive game that was extremely raw when he arrived at Indiana and becoming arguably the best perimeter defender in college basketball. He averaged 13.6 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 59.9 percent from the field and leading the Big Ten with 2.2 steals per game.
“Victor’s been a guy we’ve followed all year long,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told ESPN after Oladipo was taken. “Our scouting staff did an excellent job of identifying him early as somebody who could be a possible fit. We just really like what he’s about. We like his work ethic. We like his ability to impact both ends of the floor, and we like that he plays efficient basketball, which is always a good thing. We’re excited.”
The Magic are coming off a 20-62 season under coach Jacque Vaughn.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, were 21-61 this season and in need of help inside. The 7-foot Zeller was a first-team All-Big Ten pick this season and an All-American. He led the Hoosiers with 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 56.2 percent from the field. He was projected by many to be the overall No. 1 pick before the season and appeared to have fallen below the Top 10, but worked his way back up with exceptional workouts and a strong NBA Draft Combine to help Oladipo make history, giving the Hoosiers two picks in the top four for the first time ever.
“It says a lot about our coaching staff,” Zeller said when interviewed on ESPN. “It says a lot about the hard work we’ve put in. I think Indiana’s going to be good for a long time.”


  1. That is very cool! Here’s to long, productive, and profitable NBA careers, cheers!!!

  2. Two more Hoosiers become multimillionaires! That is great for those two young men, their families and for IU basketball! I hope they both stay healthy, stay humble and never forget where they came from.

  3. I’ve heard a number of “experts” say that VO was the most ‘NBA ready’ player in the draft.

    He be as good in the locker room as he is on the floor. I think he’ll be a star.

    But, then, I know next to nothing about the current NBA.

  4. I’m feeling it for VO….Scary, I used to actually wear similar Levi short shorts and striped tube socks when I was tearing up Goldsborough Gym during lunch period at Chesterton High.

  5. This has got to give a big boost to IU Basketball recruiting for years to come…and I’m still waiting to hear Christian Watford’s name in Rd2!

  6. Listened to the draft on the radio while running errands. One of the ESPN commentators remarked on how impressive both our guys were in… drumroll please… interviews. Yep. Both had phenomenal workouts, displayed great athleticism, and shot the lights out at the combine. But their character and intelligence seem to be what put them over the top for the GMs. I thought that was fascinating, and may prove to be invaluable for the recruitment of future prospects.

  7. Amen Punjab. Kids will notice because of the player development…. Moms will notice because of the personal development.

  8. Well put, Geoff, as usual. I think this also ties in with the whole Lyle defection (if we can call it that.) I don’t follow the recruitment of players nearly as closely as a lot of people on here. But I got the sense even before he made his decision that Hoosier fans weren’t that high on him despite the rankings. I don’t know how much of it was character concerns, where he would’ve fit on the roster, or that L’Ville might have been the more logical choice for Lyle to begin with. But the coaches and fans seem to know what kind of person fits best in our program, and we’re just fortunate enough that they happen to be great athletes and ball players to boot.

  9. What can you say about these two dudes? Eric Gordon will be less significant than Bracey Wright in Hoosier History after this draft class!

  10. Both clubs wanted players who came from rebuilding schools. Players, who know the struggles required to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

  11. What a great night for Oladipo and Zeller! I wish both players much success in the NBA. They are both great basketball players and great individuals.

    What a great night for Crean and the IU coaching staff too! Even the players recognized that. I hope that will put an end to those “IU naysayers,” who, whenever IU hits a bump in the road, think Crean can’t coach, nor the staff, and become discombobulated and obsessed with fear.

  12. Huge, HUGE score for the Hoosiers down the road. It was players like Victor and Cody that made Moms want their boys to play for Coach K a few years back. Now, those Moms are gonna want their boys in candystripes.

    I see Cody as being a steady, reliable pro for many years and Vic may just end up being a star if all the pieces fit together just right. So many factors play into that and a lot of it will be out of their hands.

    I don’t know the young men personally but, from everything I’ve ever read about them, it couldn’t happen to a nicer couple of guys. They actually deserve to be looked upon as role models by young people. The NBA and network execs are gonna eat that up.

    New Orleans, on the other hand, is screwed for the foreseeable future. They’ve bet the farm on a couple of head cases that were groomed by a creep down at Kaintuck. I predict they’ll both be unloaded on other teams at fire sale prices in the next three years and the New Orleans Hornets will only be newsworthy for the trouble they cause…then they’ll start rebuilding all over again with a new coach and GM.

    Not that IU and Kaintuck always recruit the same type of players but the coaches on the recruiting trail are going to point out how messed up those boys in blue tend to be. Two of the recurrent stories I’ve been reading lately are how Doc Rivers left the Celtics in large part because he couldn’t depend on Rajon Rondo (or he COULD depend on him…to be a head case) and how nobody had any faith in Nerlens Noel. His didn’t do himself any favors with his post draft comments, either. Plus, nobody ever seems to go to (or have any) class at Kaintuck.

    Two programs seemingly headed in opposite directions.

    Victor and Cody, thanks for everything. You’ve covered yourself and the Hoosiers with glory and laid the groundwork for decades of success. We didn’t win the national title but we DID win an amazingly tough Big Ten and you two never made us feel anything but pride by how you both conducted yourselves.

    Coach Crean, great, Great, GREAT, call on recruiting Victor. I still remember the naysayers complaining about how you ‘wasted a scholly’.

    I also want to echo Cody, thanks to all the staff on the outstanding player development (again, something the naysayers claimed you couldn’t do).

    Another prediction, Will Sheehey will have a huge season. I also think we’ll be a better second half team because Will has the ability to light a fire under his teammates.

    That might be the piece we’ve been missing.

  13. I echo Chet’s comments and the other posts.

    Fantastic event for Vic & Cody as well as IU and the NBA.
    Both seem to be clear headed & motivated.

    B1G channel yesterday evening had a reply of IU at Illinois. The last 45 seconds of that game – Vic turnover followed by a good defensive block and the last play of the game with an uncontested layup. Ouch. Followed up with the draft show and #2 & #4. Nice.

  14. Bummer about Christian. Hopefully he can take solace in the fact that (per NBC sports) about 20% of NBA rosters are filled with guys that went undrafted. I heard Crean on the Herd this morning saying that many teams were close to picking him up in the second round but ultimately couldnt pull the trigger. (Sorry, Geoff, if that figure of speech hits a little too close to home for you Pats fans right now…) Keep your head up,Wat, keep working hard, and hopefully some team will take a chance on you as a free agent. Best of luck to you.

    And for all you underclassmen out their who aren’t slam dunk lottery picks, beware this cautionary tale: Leslie, Pressey, Kabongo, and other “big name” prospects all left school early and are currently looking for employment. Every situation is different, but how is it that every year we see kids give up their amateur status to test the NBA waters, only to wash up on a deserted island? Or Lithuana?

  15. I actually think this goes far beyond ‘Choosy moms choose Jif’ first…

    We now have become so insecure with ourselves and our ability to ever loft banners again that we use this proud moment for Cody and Vic to defecate on kids that played for Kentucky.

    There was once a day at Indiana Basketball when we never needed to spend much time mocking the inferior competition. We were secure enough with our program to take guys that may not even scratch the surface of an NBA draft, take to the court, and give any team a true run for their money.

    I love talent. I also love stories of good kids that represent Indiana with dignity. But when we regress to a level of making demeaning comments about young men we really don’t personally know their backgrounds or their heart(some from other programs and some ex-Hoosiers that played during our more tumultuous times, including former Hoosiers like Eric Gordon), I don’t believe it communicates anything of pride and respect.

    For a guy that says “move on” repeatedly, maybe it’s time to seek a level of happiness in our choices/our coach/our history/ our direction rather than spending so much negative energy worrying about the warts on a “Kaintuck” ass at a “bait and tackle” shop.

    Must the smelly trail of labeled cheats and teenagers of questionable character be our choice cologne. It seems so damn petty. It seems to take more away from Cody and Vic than any quite and confident dignity in a simple and sincere wish for their future success. This is Indiana. We’re better than chasing villains and dumping on others to paint our house a brighter color.

    Good luck to Vic and Cody. And good luck to any one-and-done or two-and-done that now believes the future is all red roses. I have a feeling they will all one day miss what they had at Bloomington or Michigan…or Kentucky. They have turned a page and have somewhat left the innocence of being young at the guillotine. I’m happy for them, but in many ways I’m also a bit
    sad for the hunger of it all.

  16. Chet, I wonder if any of the so called “experts” are willing to step up and admit that they were totally and completely wrong about Crean wasting a scholarship when he recruited VO and WS. As a matter of fact, those people could not have been more wrong and were probably as wrong as anybody has ever been about anything ever written on this blog. Come one. Who’s got the stones to come on here and admit that they wrote such opinions and were 180 degrees off target?

    Rating services and recruiting experts my butt!

  17. oops..

    Must the smelly trail of labeled cheats and teenagers of questionable character be our choice cologne[?] It seems so damn petty. It seems to take more away from Cody and Vic than any [quiet] and confident dignity in a simple and sincere wish..

  18. Po, Laffed-At will forever sit on his personally soiled briefs/boxers in his jail of exile for repeatedly proclaiming those 2 rides were wasted.

  19. Po, if I’m not mistaken, Otto Porter was in the rankings neighborhood of both Vic and Will coming out of HS. Turns out he didn’t fair too badly in the draft, either.

    Harv, great post. I roll my eyes sometimes with the “chasing villains” overkill, but otherwise I agree with just about everything you said.

  20. Laffed-At = 4guards?

    I don’t think so. Laffed-At was the guy that believed Cody needed to grow some stones, take off his skirt, and put on something as manly as Willie Nelson in khakis.

    “4ticturds” was the guy that wasn’t sold on VO and Sheehey. 4guards/tickturds was certainly not a big believer in Crean, but he never used anything approaching Laffed-At’s rather cutting style and unique vocabulary.

  21. I shall part with the usual YouTube clip…

    They have turned a page and have somewhat left the innocence of being young at the guillotine. I’m happy for them, but in many ways I’m also a bit sad for the hunger of it all.

  22. Punjab, quick, call the doctor immediately or get yourself to a Urgent Care Center! They have medication for those cases when you find yourself “agreeing with just about everything” H4H said. Hurry, before its too late.

  23. Ha. Come on, Po. You know I always have my emergency supply of kook-aid antivenom on hand for just such an occasion.

    Actually, I find that Harv and I share many of the same sentiments. It’s not often I completely disagree with the premise of his arguments. The delivery may be a little strong and/or repetitive for my taste, but I think his heart’s generally in the right place. And it almost always makes for an interesting read. I’m a fan. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give myself an injection…

  24. Punjab, I was just joshing a bit. But given that H4H’s posts often use 1,000 words to cover the entire spectrum of thought on any given subject, it’s not hard to find something in his posts to agree with.

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