Victor Oladipo, the first-team All-American from Indiana, did what everyone expected him to do and what he needed to do today when he announced his intention to enter the NBA, foregoing his final year of eligibility.
The junior’s draft stock is sky high and the risk of injury too great, which were factors that led to his decision to choose the NBA now rather than a year from now.
Oladipo was the most improved player in college basketball this season and considering where his game was when he graduated from perennial powerhouse DeMatha High School in Maryland to where it is today, he’s arguably improved his game as much as anyone ever has in recent memory.
Oladipo was one of college basketball’s best one-on-one players this season and perhaps the game’s best on-ball defender.
He averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Hoosiers this season, shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor, including 44 percent from three-point range.
His quickness and talent will make him a perfect fit in the NBA. Every draft expert believes Oladipo, Indiana’s first first-team All-American since A.J. Guyton in 2000, will be a lottery pick in the June draft. That means he’ll make in the neighborhood of between $2.5 million-$3.5 million in salary in his first season.
NBA player personnel directors are salivating at Oladipo’s upside. He has great leaping ability and an uncanny knack for finishing around the hoop often times being able to elevate over taller players.
Earlier this season, NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson tabbed Oladipo as a future star in the pro game.
“To me, he’s a combination of (Michael) Jordan and Dwyane Wade,” Johnson said.
Oladipo will be sorely missed from a program that was supposed to compete for the national championship this season, but was ousted in the Sweet 16 by Final Four participant Syracuse.
With Oladipo leaving, Tom Crean will have the task of replacing at least three starters as Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls have exhausted their eligibility. That number is expected to grow to four when second-team All-American Cody Zeller announces his decision to depart Bloomington. Sources are reporting he will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce his intention of entering the NBA.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.