Preseason Player Breakdown: Victor Oladipo

This is Part 2 of our Preseason Player Breakdown. We’ll look at the dynamic wing Victor Oladipo.

The Past

Oladipo came to Bloomington with moderate fanfare, but he was a fan favorite instantly. He won last year’s Hoosier Hysteria dunk contest by dunking over a group of elementary school students, and he put together what was arguably the most impressive highlight reel of any of the Hoosiers with his spectacular dunks as well as a halfcourt first-half buzzer-beater early in the season against North Carolina Central.

His energy was infectious, and he established himself quickly as one of the Hoosiers’ most effective on-ball, perimeter defenders. He tied senior Jeremiah Rivers for the team lead with 34 steals, and he averaged 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. which put him top five on the team in both categories.

But Oladipo also had his limitations. He could take the ball to the hole, but ran into problems if he had to drive in anything other than a straight line. He had made significant progress with his jumper since his high school days at DeMatha Catholic in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., but it still wasn’t nearly as consistent as he would’ve hoped. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, the best mark of any Hoosier with at least 100 attempts, but so many of his buckets came on layups or tip ins. He was just 8-for-26 from beyond the 3-point arc (30.8 percent) and he was shaky at the free throw line as well, making just 61.2 percent of his foul shots. He also committed 44 turnovers compared to just 28 assists.

The Present

At the Indy Pro-Am this summer, Oladipo showed perhaps the most dramatic evolution in his skill set of any of the Hoosiers who participated. Working extensively on his shooting with teammate Jordan Hulls’ father, J.C., he displayed a much-improved mid-range game and was even reliable from beyond the 3-point arc. He was also much better on the dribble drive, showing an increased aptitude for crossing up defenders in the lane and changing direction with the ball. Oladipo also put on 14 pounds of muscle to get to 6-5, 214. The added strength helped him finish against contact, and it should also make him a better defender.

The Future

Oladipo should be in the mix all season to start at either shooting guard or small forward, especially now that junior Maurice Creek is officially out for the season with his Achilles tendon tear. Indiana coach Tom Crean has said it’s extremely important to have players who are a threat on both the offensive end and the defensive end, and if Oladipo’s offensive game has evolved as much as it appears, he should fit that bill. With Rivers gone, he becomes the Hoosiers’ top perimeter defender, though he needs to show that his court awareness has improved from last season as well. Though he was usually dogged on the ball, he sometimes got caught out of position, which was part of the reason why he was third on the team in personal fouls with 69. Oladipo will likely be engaged in a battle with senior Verdell Jones and classmate Will Sheehey for a starting job, and will likely be the top reserve if he isn’t in the starting lineup.


19 comments

  1. If he can be consistent with his jumper he could be a real threat offensively. I enjoy watching him play.

  2. There is very little doubt that Zeller, Watford and Hulls are the stars of this team. If any one of the three can become a top 5 All-Big 10 player, this will be a good (20+ win) season. Vic and Will are the next best players and have to get 22-25 minutes/game on the floor each. Elston and Pritchard have to do it on the floor, “being 6’9″ is no longer good enough. Derek could be great, but can he develop the mental side of his talent? Verdell can show that he is the senior leader that we have desperately needed for the last three years. If he can accept lesser “billing” but play great, then this can be a special season. Austin and Remy have to bring it all and bring it hard every second on the floor. They each have some real talent that Indiana has sorely needed. I hope that Matt Roth hits 50% of his 3′s because if he can’t Danny Moore might. Danny does a lot of good things in short stretches. No more excuses now for Coach Crean, it is win NOW time! We miss and love you Mo Creek and want to see you play again at 100%! GO IU!

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