Victor Oladipo: A Top 5 Pick in the 2013 NBA Draft
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Victor Oladipo has had a spectacular season for the Indiana Hoosiers. Oladipo has helped his draft stock tremendously, and he will be a top-five overall pick in this upcoming NBA draft.
Oladipo's sensational play has rightfully placed him in the discussion for the Naismith College Player of the Year award. During the second Indiana-Michigan State battle, basketball legend Magic Johnson proclaimed, "To me, he's a combination of [Michael] Jordan and Dwayne Wade."
He's Indiana's second-leading scorer, averaging 13.8 points per game. He's third in rebounds and assists as well, averaging 5.8 and 2.3 respectively. Oladipo makes an impact in several areas of the game, and has turned into one of the best players in the nation.
Oladipo has always shown outstanding athleticism and leaping ability. He's an explosive player who has a great motor. Oladipo's relentless play has translated extremely well on the defensive side of the ball. He can guard multiple positions and averages 2.3 steals per game.
He's a very strong perimeter defender, and his ability to shut down key opposing players has given Indiana a huge edge. He's also a master at jumping passing lanes, which is one of the reasons why he leads the Big 10 Conference in steals.
He's improved his offensive game during the offseason, especially his jump shot. And he's also great at attacking the rim, which further helps his scoring efficiency. Oladipo is shooting a remarkable 63.9 percent from the field this season, up from 47.1 percent last year.
His biggest improvement has been his three-point shooting. Coming off a season in which he shot 20.8 percent, Oladipo's shooting an elite 52.4 percent from beyond the arc this year. His free-throw percentage has been steady this season, shooting 74 percent from the line. Just two seasons ago as a freshman, Oladipo shot only 61.2 percent at the charity stripe.
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The most impressive thing about Oladipo is that his best performances come in big games. In two games against Michigan State, he averaged 20 points per contest on 65 percent shooting. He's also averaged eight rebounds and 5.5 steals in those two games. He has also come up huge in the clutch, scoring Indiana's final six points in their most recent win against the Spartans.
He's also averaging 20.3 points per game against other ranked Big 10 opponents such as Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota. His most impressive game came against the Buckeyes, in which he scored 26 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. He also made nine of his 10 free-throw attempts.
His game has grown a lot ever since he was a freshman at Bloomington, and his game can continue to grow at the professional level. He has the size (6'5", 215 pounds), intangibles and skill set to be a very special player in the NBA.
He reminds me of a young Andre Iguodala. He's still raw, but his athleticism and defense will serve him well early on in the NBA. He can improve his offense by not turning the ball over as much, but if he continues to work on his shooting, he will be a star.
Oladipo has essentially done what was previously thought impossible—outshining Cody Zeller and becoming the best player on the best team in the nation. If he continues his superb play against top competition, especially in the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments, expect his name to be called within the first couple of picks in the 2013 NBA draft.
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