What would you do if you had just two hours to spend on the Great Wall of China?
For Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo, it was a race to the top.
“We made it to the highest point of the wall that we were able to get to and it took us an hour and a half because the stairs were so steep,” Hulls said.
The Great Wall extends about 1,500 miles along the southern border of the Mongolian plain was was used to prevent invasion. Now it’s one of the world’s most famous tourist spots which is why Hulls and Oladipo were there.
They had other reasons, of course. The Indiana basketball players went to China as part of a Reach USA tour with other college players. They helped the U.S. team compile a 6-2-1 record, against two teams –- one from Lithuania and one from Brazil. They played the Lithuanians seven straight times, then Brazil the last two.
“The Lithuanians could really shoot the ball,” Hulls said. “All they really did was round around in circles, run you off screen and then shoot threes. I think one game we had a combined 27 three-pointers.
“Some of them are really good and could probably play in the United States if they wanted to.”
The Lithuanians, at least, expected a little more variety in the competiton.
“They didn’t know they wre going to plau us seven times, so they were not too happy about that,” Hulls said.
Hulls played point guard there, something he’ll also do for Indiana. Given the fact the U.S. team wasn’t exactly the most structured group around, there were some challenges.
“We tried to run plays,” Hulls said, “but not everone wanted to run the plays, but it was still a lot of fun.”
The trip gave Hulls extra playing experience, which should be a plus next season for IU. That included more work on his leadership skills, something point guards can’t have enough of.
“Getting a group of 10 guys from different colleges to go out and play together is tough,” he said. “I learned that you have to take what you can get and try to direct guys in the right spot on the court even if they don’t want to run the play.
“Playing against different styles of play was good for me, too. Having to play against some of the bigger guards was good. They were quick and crafty and, of course, you get an extra step over there as well as the continuation calls.”
Figure at IU when coach Tom Crean calls plays, Hoosier players will want to run them -– or at least run them whether they want to or not.
Hulls will have a major role for the Hoosiers next season, whether it’s at the point or as a shooting guard. Yes, freshman Cody Zeller is going to get a lot of hype, but somebody has to get him the ball. That will be among Hulls’ responsibilities in a season that should produce a return to Indiana’s winning ways.
Kevin Wilson’s football recruiting priorities are coming into focus with his early commitments for the Class of 2012.
So far he’s landed three defensive players and an offensive lineman.
The defensive guys are three-star Ohio linebacker Nick Mangieri, Ohio defensive back Dawson Fletcher and Ohio defensive tackle Alex Todd. The offensive guy is lineman Dan Freeney, a 6-4, 295 pounder from Illinois. He’s also a three-star player.
None of these guys will rock recruiting experts’ world, but that’s not the point. You want guys who are talented enough to play at a high level, hungry enough to maximize their potential.
Do these players fit that mold? We won’t know that until they’re at IU for a couple of years.