Indiana Basketball: Ranking IU's Most Versatile Players on the Roster
After becoming one of the only two teams to defeat national champion Kentucky last year, Indiana now finds itself with the preseason No. 1 bulls-eye on its own chest. Like last year’s Wildcats, one of the Hoosiers’ major assets for 2012-13 will be a collection of players who can contribute in many different facets of the game.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most multi-faceted Hoosiers is also the team’s flat-out best player: Cody Zeller. The star center made his name as a scorer and rebounder in his freshman season, but he’s also the toughest defender IU has.
Read on for more on Zeller and the rest of the most multi-talented athletes on coach Tom Crean’s roster for next season.
5. Christian Watford
One of the most impressive aspects of Christian Watford’s Indiana career has been his development as an outside shooter. The 6’9” PF drained a career-high 52 three-pointers last season on .437 shooting (also a career best by a wide margin).
Of course, the long-armed Watford is still plenty dangerous when he gets an opportunity down low, grabbing 5.8 rebounds a night and scoring 12.6 points per game overall last season.
Surprisingly, though, he has never developed into a top-tier defender, blocking a paltry 0.4 shots per game as a junior in 2011-12.
4. Jeremy Hollowell
Jeremy Hollowell isn’t the most anticipated recruit in Tom Crean’s 2012 class—that distinction goes to point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell—but Hollowell will bring an even bigger variety of skills at his SF spot.
A long, athletic forward at 6’7”, 190 lbs, Hollowell will be one of the Hoosiers' many tough perimeter defenders next season.
Hollowell also has a lot to offer on the offensive end, where he can contribute off the dribble or in a catch-and-shoot role. With his length, he’ll also be a factor on the low block, especially against teams that feature lots of guards.
3. Cody Zeller
It’s hardly a revelation that Cody Zeller is the best player on the Hoosiers’ roster, but the fact that he’s also the best defender is too often overlooked.
Not only was he the team’s leading shot-blocker and rebounder, as you’d expect from a 6’11” center, but he also tied for the team high with 1.4 steals per game.
Of course, Zeller’s devastating offense—a team-leading 15.6 points per game—provides an outstanding complement to those skills.
He’ll become even more dangerous as he continues to expand his shooting range (not the strongest area of his game as a freshman).
2. Jordan Hulls
At first glance, Jordan Hulls seems about as one-note as it gets. The 6’0” junior earns his playing time as one of the country’s most overpowering three-point shooters (.493 from beyond the arc last season).
That said, Hulls also served as de facto point guard for the Hoosiers in 2011-12, leading the team with 3.3 assists per game.
He’ll be ceding that job to freshman Yogi Ferrell next season, but moving off the ball won’t keep him from being a valuable defender (1.1 steals per contest).
1. Victor Oladipo
When it comes to doing a little of everything for the Hoosiers, it doesn't get any better than rising junior Victor Oladipo. The 6’5” SG parlayed his first career starting job into 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on the wing.
Oladipo also used his length to terrific effect on defense, tying for the team high with 1.4 steals per game game and placing second with 0.6 blocks a night.
He even chipped in as a distributor on last season’s point guard-poor roster, dishing out the Hoosiers’ third-most assists (2.0 per contest) for the year.