Are you kidding me? Did Victor Oladipo really leap over a bunch of grade school kids on a dunk? Did he follow that up with a ridiculous twisting between-the-legs jam?
Yeah, we’d heard about the leaping ability of this 6-4 freshman guard from Maryland. Hearing is one thing. Seeing is another. Oladipo proved the reality to all the hype with a Hoosier Hysteria performance that left no doubt who has the best hops on the team.
Coach Tom Crean expected nothing less.
“Everybody knew what was coming and he didn’t disappoint,” Crean said. “I haven’t seen anybody jump over eight to nine people like he did. I don’t care how young they were. It was pretty impressive.
“When he was getting ready to dunk, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more camera phones and cameras lifted up to get a picture. Everybody knew what to anticipate, including the recruiting section. They all had their camera phones going.”
Oladipo arrived on campus over the summer without all-world hype. But his work ethic and attention to detail has convinced Crean that Oladipo will see substantial playing time this season.
“He has a tremendous personality,” Crean said. “We’re talking about a kid who had 380 young men in his high school. He was one of 10 people who had lunch at the White House with the President. He has some special qualities. People will see that in him. It’s the same with (fellow newcomers) Will Sheehey and Guy Marc-Michel. Those three guys have come in and set a standard for what young guys should look at, the way they work their bodies and their games and what they do academically.”
While Oladipo impressed with his dunking and scoring (he had a game-high nine points in the scrimmage), Matt Roth thrived with his three-point shooting. The junior guard, who basically missed all of last season with a broken foot, impressively won the three-point shooting contest, although he needed a shootout to beat out forward Christian Watford. Roth nailed a couple of half-court shots to win.
“I probably could have stepped back if I needed to,” Roth said. “I tried to make one (half-court) shot in each round.”
Roth showed no sluggishness from his year layoff because of the foot or from a concussion that sidelined him for a couple of weeks.
“I was anxious to get back out there. It went well.”
One surprise Friday night was the appearance of Taylor Wayer as a walk-on. The 5-11, 172-pound freshman guard from Indianapolis Bishop Chatard averaged 18 points and three assists last season. He had three points in the scrimmage, witnessed by 13,100 fans.
IU practiced for an hour and 40 minutes before Hoosier Hysteria. Crean scheduled two-a-day practices for today and Sunday.
“We’re trying to build a personality with this team,” Crean said. “We want a mindset on a daily basis. Before they earn victories they have to believe they’ll get them. The only way to believe is through hard work. Through competition. In every practice. That’s the mindset they have to have.”