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Oladipo makes big impact on Indiana’s resurgence
The Big Ten’s new defensive player of the year also happens to be on target to earn his bachelor’s degree in May, after only three years, and with a GPA higher than the 3.2 he finished with in high school. He’s done all that despite devoting so much extra time to perfecting his shooting touch between games and practices.
The results have been impressive.
In 2011-12, Oladipo averaged 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds and helped the Hoosiers re-establish themselves on college basketball’s national map. But he shot 47.1 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from 3-point range. Oladipo is now averaging 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and is now shooting 59.9 percent from the field, 24th in the nation, 44.3 percent on 3-pointers and is 17th nationally in steals (74).
“He’s just a gym rat,” freshman point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said. “He’s still in the gym to this day and he definitely brought that in with him. He and Will Sheehey are both gym rats, they’re always in the gym just trying to get better. When I see them in there, I always want to get in there and I definitely want to get shots up with them, too.”
Those who have had to contend with Oladipo all season, understand he’s one of the biggest reasons Indiana (27-6) has gone from regional semifinalist last year to a No. 1 seed this year.
Illinois guard Brandon Paul says he wants to emulate Oladipo’s play on the court. Wisconsin’s Ryan Evans says Oladipo reminds him of Russell Westbrook. Others have made the seemingly sacrilegious comparison to another late-bloomer, Michael Jordan, and Oladipo’s thunderous 360-degree dunk late in the Big Ten quarterfinals against Illinois didn’t dissuade anybody from rekindling those thoughts.
Oladipo is content to let everyone else talk about his meteoric one-year rise from defensive stopper to national player of the year candidate.
“I don’t think the stat sheet tells the story with him,” Illinois coach John Groce said after that loss. “I think defensively he is terrific. He, as Brandon (Paul) said, he gets up into you, he takes things away, he reads things well. You can tell he’s really intelligent defensively. He’s as good a defender on the perimeter as we played against all year. Now you add the things he brings to the table from an offensive perspective and his rebounding and that makes him even more potent.”
The only real question now is what’s next?
Oladipo could return to school for one more season and pursue a graduate degree next year and either a first or second national championship. Or he could jump straight to the NBA, get the big payday and become one of DeMatha’s highest-drafted alums. Duke’s Danny Ferry went No. 2 in 1989, Notre Dame’s Adrian Dantley went No. 6 in 1976 and North Carolina State’s Kenny Carr went No. 6 in 1977. Right now, many projections have him going in the top five.
For now, though, Oladipo isn’t worried about any of that stuff.
He’d rather stick to his Hoosiers roots and focus on the one thing that really matters to Indiana fans — earning the school’s sixth national championship banner.
“We have to get back to playing Indiana basketball the right way, keeping our edge, staying together,” Oladipo said. “It’s nothing like the regular season. We’ve just got to come ready to play.”
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
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