Before the beginning of the college basketball season, Indiana's Victor Oladipo was considered one of the better defenders in the country, and a possible first-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft. With six weeks left in the season, those expectations need to be recalibrated.
Oladipo is not only a great defender, but is perhaps the best player in college basketball—and he is a much better NBA prospect than advertised.
Despite starting the season playing in the shadow of Cody Zeller, Oladipo's incredible all-around game has made him Indiana's most valuable player. Oladipos' athleticism is superior to nearly any other college player in the country, but what has been stunning is his efficiency.
While still being the most dominant wing defender in the country, Oladipo has dramatically improved on the offensive side of the ball. After his 26-point performance Sunday at Ohio State, Oladipo is now shooting 65 percent from the field on the season and hitting well over 50 percent of his three-pointers.
Oladipo has also advanced in his decision-making. Considered a below-average ball-handler and creator for most of the career, Oladipo currently has a fair amount of the Hoosier offense run through him—with superb results.
He is creating off the dribble for both himself and teammates, and has shown far better passing abilities than he has been given credit for. Oladipo's rapidly improving offensive game greatly improves his long-term NBA potential.
A few months ago, comparing Oladipo to Tony Allen seemed to be a compliment. But Oladipo can be a far more dominant NBA player than that.
Oladipo's evolving offensive game and his apparently vigorous work ethic mean that his upside is that of a perennial All-Star. Such success for Oladipo might seem far-fetched, but given his surprising development, it is hardly unthinkable.