Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oladipo And China; Football Recruiting Surge Continues

Victor Oladipo is not a point guard, certainly not in this stage of his Indiana basketball career. Did playing nine games in China accelerate his growth in that area? Not exactly, but it did enable the sophomore to fine tune the skills he has. Yes, that includes dunking. The 6-4 Oladipo has some serious hops and he might as well show it off from time to time.

So basically during every halftime of every game in China, Oladipo and some of his Reach USA teammates put on a dunk competition. Oladipo more than held his own.

“I just tried to give something to the people they haven’t seen before, and they really liked it. It was fun.”

Fun was good, but there was a serious side to the experience. The goal is to ensure Oladipo is developed enough to make a huge impact in the upcoming Hoosier season, which should be a return to IU’s winning ways.

Oladipo said the biggest thing he got from the trip was being a leader.

“You know, making the right play, doing whatever it takes for my team to win. Shooting a little bit more and just trying to get my teammates involved.”

Oladipo had always wanted to visit a foreign country. In fact, his father pushed for a China trip during one summer while Victor was in high school. It didn’t work out then, but did earlier this month.

The USA team went 6-2-1 on the tour, and got to experience a different style of play and officiating.

“It is really different,” Oladipo said. “They move a lot. They backdoor cut to the basket a lot. They screen a lot. It helped me on defense – getting over screens and helped with conditioning and making sure my head is on the swivel. Just helping with my all-around game.”

The better Oladipo’s game is, the better Hoosier prospects are because he is going to have a signifant role, probably off the bench.


It looks like IU football coach Kevin Wilson’s June recruiting roll hasn’t slowed down. Reports are out that Ohio tight end Tanner Kearns has committed. That gives the Hoosiers nine for the Class of 2012 and seven in the last week.

The 6-5, 225-pound Kearns, like most of these commitments, picked the Hoosiers after attending an IU summer camp. He got to work with the coaches, particularly Wilson, who takes a hands-on approach to these things as he does with so many things in the program.

The Hoosiers beat out Cincinnati, Kent State, Buffalo, Toledo, Temple, Air Force and Central Michigan. Yes, these aren’t football juggernauts, but Kearns also was drawing interest from Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State. That should tell you something the kid’s potential.

Still, Kearns is not a five-star recruit. None of the nine commitments are. Five of them are three-star prospects.

As for how this class will be regarded compared to others in the Big Ten, as one reader has asked, it’s too early to tell. The bigger key is how they develop when they arrive in Bloomington. Some of that is on them, some on Wilson and his staff.

But if Wilson is to win consistently at IU, development has to be a strong point.


High school basketball briefly -– make that very briefly –- is making an appearance this weekend in Indianapolis as part of the two-day USSFA/Indiana Boys Basketball Shootout. The event features 37 high school teams from central Indiana battling at three area high schools.

Gary Harris played for Hamilton Southeastern on Saturday, then headed to Chicago for the Kevin Durant Skills Camp. Harris remains undecided even as IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Louisville, among others, recruit this Class of 2012 standout hard.

There’s no such suspense around Jeremy Hollowell. The Lawrence Central star is part of the Hoosiers’ top-ranked Class of 2012. He scored a combined 45 points in a pair of Saturday victories over Indianapolis Brebeuf and Scecina.

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