Saturday, July 31, 2010

Silence Isn't Golden For IU's Oladipo

Victor Oladipo doesn’t buy the silence is golden myth. Not when he’s playing basketball. There’s too much passion and fun to unleash.

So when the 6-4 freshman guard finally makes his Indiana public debut –- put mid-October’s Hoosier Hysteria on your calendar -– look for him whenever you hear a scream or see a highlight-reel dunk.

“I’m an energy-type player,” he said. “I like to scream, get the crowd into it. I like dunking. I like the high-tempo game. When it’s high tempo, I’m high tempo and when I’m high tempo, I think my team thrives off that.”

We’ll have to take his word on that. It certainly worked last season for Washington D.C.’s DeMatha High School. He averaged 11.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocks for a 32-4 team that won city and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships.

Will it work for the rebuilding Hoosiers, who seem poised to return to their winning ways after two seasons of Kelvin Sampson-inspired misery?

We won’t know until games start in November. For now Oladipo is adjusting to what college is all about, from summer school classes to 6 a.m. weight lifting sessions to full-throttle pickup games.

“I’m just trying to get my feet wet and get used to everything,” he said. “Becoming an Indiana basketball player is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not like high school. I’m just trying to have fun and get used to it.”

At DeMatha Oladipo was a hard worker whose leaping ability made him a YouTube regular and who, while recovering from a broken foot during the summer before his sophomore year, worked summer league scoreboards and picked up trash to stay involved with his team.

That’s the kind of attitude Hoosier coach Tom Crean is seeking to help restore the glory of old IU. It’s among the attributes that made Crean offer Oladipo a scholarship.

As far as accepting that scholarship, there was a bit of a family disconnect. Oladipo’s father, Chris, a native of Nigeria, wanted Victor to spend a year in China doing martial arts and learning discipline. Then he wanted him to go to Harvard or Maryland.

Victor did neither, and it seems that Hoosiers are set to reap the benefits.

Of course, like so much else with the program, we won’t know until the season starts.

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