Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oladipo Jams; Hoosiers Win, but Lose Etherington

Victor Oladipo dunks. Lord, does he dunk. He dunks on teammates, on opponents. Sometimes, such as in Hoosier Hysteria, he dunks over half a dozen or so people.

It’s show and passion and energy. He does it because he can, because he enjoys it.

On Saturday night he dunked on Central Connecticut State’s Terrell Allen. Later, he got a steal and a break-away that he jammed backward because, well, why not?

“The backward one was nice,” Oladipo said. “The one where I dunked on the dude was pretty cool, too, but the backward one was fun because it was a free for all. I could have done anything I wanted to do. I like that dunk after the whistle, too.”

Even Central Connecticut State coach Howie Dickenman liked it. Well, he said he did, but after watching his team get hammered 100-69, he might have been a little confused.

“He got me into the game, too,” Dickenman said. “Where did you get this guy from? Fantastic athlete. We tried to find weaknesses with the Hoosiers, and we had a tough time. They had a lot of answers, and Zeller -- 19 points and 19 rebounds. We didn't have any answers for him.”

That would be Cody Zeller, who set a career high for rebounds while playing with the energy and pace of a point guard rather than the 7-foot forward that he is.

On most nights, Zeller would be the story. But on this night, Oladipo filled the stat sheet with eye-opening numbers: 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting, nine rebounds, a career-high five steals, three blocks and two assists in 22 full-speed-ahead minutes.

Oh, yes. He also played a mean brand of defense on Central Connecticut State guard Kyle Vinales, who entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer with a 25.9 average. He had seven points on 3-for-15 shooting.

To be accurate, Will Sheehey, Remy Abell, Christian Watford and Yogi Ferrell shared in the job, but Oladipo was the main guy, just as he is for every game against the best perimeter scorers.

“It's a challenge every game,” he said. “I'm pretty much on the leading scorer every game," Oladipo said. "Will (Sheehey) does a great job coming in and guarding him, too. Remy (Abell) gets on him. Sometimes Christian (Watford) switches and gets on him.

“I may get all the steals and deflections, but without my teammates. I wouldn't be able to lock down half the people I do. It's a team effort.”

Team or not, Oladipo totaled deflections for the second straight game. No coach Tom Crean player has ever done that. Only one other player, Dwyane Wade, has gotten 20 deflections in Crean’s system.

“He did a fantastic job,” Crean said.


How bad is sophomore guard Austin Etherington hurt?

We’ll find out soon enough. Etherington suffered an apparent injury to his left knee during the Central Connecticut State win. Crean called it a “significant injury,” although how long Etherington will be out is uncertain.

He hurt his knee during what seemed a minor collision with Terrell Allen late in the first half. He had to leave in a stretcher.

It wasn’t Etherington’s first knee injury. He hurt his left knee as a high school freshman at Hamilton Heights and didn’t return until about midway through his sophomore season.

Etherington only played two minutes. Before he got hurt, he was at the foul line preparing to shoot free throws. Crean had Olidipo prepared to replace Etherington, but he missed the second free throw, so the substitution couldn’t happen until the next dead ball. Seconds later, Etherington was hurt and everything became uncertain.

"He had a couple tough fouls and I was getting him out when he got hurt," said Crean. "That was the tough part about it."

No comments:

Post a Comment