by Kent Sterling
That’s a clear-headed kid.
Former Indiana University shooting guard Victor Oladipo will be taken in the top five picks in Thursday night’s NBA draft, but every team that passes on him will regret it.
That’s because Victor is a man of goals, vision, and sacrifice. So many young men see draft night as the culmination of years of hard work, but Victor sees it as a a mile post on a trip that has only just begun.
Three years ago, Victor reported to Indiana as a lightly-recruited, low-ranked kid with some awesome dunks on his highlight reel, but little else. Since his first day in Bloomington, Victor has worked and worked to try to reach his potential, and he became a first team All-American.
But the work hasn’t stopped, and there’s no telling where the improvement will end. There is a presence with Victor that communicates a rare resolve. It was immediately apparent when I talked to him prior to his freshman season. When he told me things, I believed him.
His goals were lofty then – even for a team that was struggling like IU was at that point.
There will be kids taken in the first round who believe they have it made when David Stern calls their names. Victor won’t be one of them, and that gives him the potential to be a very special player.
Alright, it can’t all be sunshines and lollypops. There have to be some measurables to go along with the great attitude. Excellent psychological makeup can’t block shots, steal asses, or knock down shots.
Victor is 6’4 1/4″ in shoes, and has a wingspan of 6’9 1/4″. His no step vertical is 33 inches, and his max vertical is 42 inches.
The stats went up regularly through Victor’s three years in Bloomington. Points per game grew from 74 to 10.8 to 13.6, and 3pt% rose from 24.3% during his freshman and sophomore seasons combined to 44.1% last season. His total steals exploded from 34 to 49 to 78, and rebounds per game rose from 3.7 to 5.3, to 6.3.
Victor Oladipo is still ascending, and where his ceiling is might be high enough that GMs will be remembered for not taking him just like Stu Inman of the 1984-1985 Portland Trailblazers – the guy who took Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan.