Monday, October 24, 2011

Look Out -- Oladipo Is Pumped; Weight-Gaining Hoosiers

Victor Oladipo is pumped, and if you’ve seen this sophomore guard play basketball, you know what that can mean.

This is a guy who dunks with the greatest of ease. He’s a guy capable of electrifying a crowd with his passion and play.

IU fans will get plenty of chances to see that, starting with Saturday’s Haunted Hall of Hoops, but for now Oladipo is getting his buzz from a campus buzzing about Hoosier basketball prospects.

With four returning starters and an elite freshman in Cody Zeller, optimism is everywhere you look and Oladipo can’t help looking as he goes to classes.

“People have been excited since the season ended last year,” he said. “They can’t wait for us to get started. That’s why I love it on this campus. The atmosphere is always ready for basketball. Students can’t wait to come to games.”

The 6-5 Oladipo averaged 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 54.7 percent from the field as a freshman. He’s looking for more this year. He helped improve his game over the summer by playing in the Indy Pro-Am league that features pro players and top-notch college players.

“It gave me a lot of confidence working with those guys,” Oladipo said. “Playing with pros and other college guys and being able to match up with them. It was fun.”


Kevin Wilson isn’t fooling around when it comes to this weight-gaining stuff.

Indiana’s football coach is determined to change the mindset of the entire program, and that includes getting guys to put on pounds.

There comes a time in a person’s life when adding pounds is not a good thing, but that isn’t when you’re an under-sized football player.

Take defensive ends Javon Cornley and Ryan Phillis. Cornley is a 6-5, 235 redshirt sophomore. Phillis is a 6-3, 244-pound redshirt freshman. If they were, say, music students specializing in the harp, they’d be giants. But if they want to compete in the Big Ten, that’s not enough.

“Those guys weigh 240 pounds and that’s too small,” Wilson said. “To me, when we’ve got a guy on a weight-game plan, and he’s not gaining weight, that’s no different than a guy not going to class. That’s part of your commitment to get big and strong enough. Those two defensive ends are a little bit light.”

With a 1-7 record, IU has a whole bunch of other problems. Now Northwestern comes to Memorial Stadium for Homecoming this Saturday, which will give the Hoosiers perhaps their best shot at winning a Big Ten game.

The Wildcats are 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten. They have a potent offense behind quarterback Dan Persa, but their defense stinks.

That means IU quarterback Trey Roberson should be able to follow up his strong Iowa performance with another good game. However, the Hoosiers’ mistake-prone secondary could get torched if it can’t stop messing up.

Still, in what has become a build-for-the-future season, this is a rare chance to get a much-needed victory. The Hoosiers can’t afford to blow it.

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