Monday, May 16, 2011
Hulls, Oladipo Outta Here – For China; McGary On The Ranking Rise
It’s official -- Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls are leaving Indiana. In fact, coach Tom Crean wants them to go. In fact, by the time you read this, they’re already gone.
Wait. It’s not what you think. Maybe all those rumors about transfering Hoosier basketball players will turn out to be true (maybe), but not for Oladipo and Hulls. They’re leaving to participate in a Far East trip (as in China) with Reach USA. It’s a cultural exchange deal and they’ll play against a club team from Lithuania (seven times) and an all-star squad from Brazil (twice).
The team will be coached by Gary Forrest, the retired coach at Oldham County (Kentucky) High School.
Players left today and are set to return May 31.
It's a great opportunity for Hulls and Oladipo to see the world, improve their games and broaden their perspective.
Hulls averaged 11.0 points and 2.9 assists last season as a sophomore guard. Oladipo averaged 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds as a freshman guard.
“It’s a great honor to represent Indiana University in something like this,” Hulls said in a university release. “I’m looking forward to the experience.”
Added Oladipo: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m very humbled and honored to have the chance to play basketball and experience a trip like this at the same time.”
Also on the team are Kentucky’s Eloy Vargas, Georgia’s Marcus Thornton, Minnesota’s Austin Hollins, Texas Christian’s Garlon Green, Nevada’s Malik Story (a former IU player) and Devonte Elliott, and Southern Illinois’ Justin Bocot.
By now you know that Mitch McGary, the center formerly from Chesterton who has thrived academically and athletically in prep school, has developed into a powerhouse national prospect.
He was very impressive in last weekend's adidas May Classic in Bloomington.
That development was noted in Rivals.com’s new top 150 list for the Class of 2012. The 6-10, 250-pounder now ranks No. 5 nationally. In Rivals’ previous list, he was No. 92. That makes him the top rising prospect in the country.
Academics scared off a lot of schools early in his high school career. But he’s turned things around at Brewster Academy in Maine, and a lot of schools, including Indiana, are taking a long look at him. Florida and Texas are among the heavyweights in pursuit.
Guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, formerly of Indianapolis North Central and now attending Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, is ranked No. 21 nationally.
When it comes to high school basketball against team travel basketball, it’s no contest:
Travel ball wins.
At least, that’s what many of the players think.
Yes, the two don’t compete against each other. Travel ball is for the spring and summer. High school ball is basically a winter activity.
With high school ball, you compete for your school and community. You often play in front of bigger crowds. You get postseason opportunities that, if you’re lucky enough to win it all, as Cody Zeller did for most of his Washington High School career, guarantee a measure of lasting fame.
Travel ball doesn’t have anything close to that. Crowds are usually small and the games are many and just hours apart. Even national championships don’t draw the acclaim of prep state titles. But that’s not the point. Travel ball offers the strongest competition, high-profile sites, higher-profile college coaches and scholarship opportunities.
Oh, yes. One other thing.
“I like AAU ball over high school,” Yogi Ferrell said. He’s Indiana’s point guard of the future from the Class of 2012. “It’s more free. Everyone comes together and you play against different guys, like All Star teams. It’s a lot better competition.”
Ferrell plays for Indianapolis Park Tudor and wins a lot, including the state Class 2A title last March. He also plays for Indiana Elite Team Indiana and victories have not matched expectations this spring. No matter.
Travel ball wins.
“It’s more fun,” Ferrell said.