Hoosiers expect Victor Oladipo to keep rolling against Purdue
BLOOMINGTON — Victor Oladipo’s first Big Ten Player of the Week award didn’t immediately lead to greater things.
Oladipo averaged 18.5 points in two games in the first week of the 2011-12 season, earning what was then the first player of the week award for a Hoosier since D.J. White did it in 2008.
But Oladipo scored just 14 points combined in Indiana’s next two games, albeit both victories.
After winning his second player of the week award on Monday, the Hoosiers will need better follow-up from Oladipo than that in their next two games.
The third-ranked Hoosiers (18-2, 6-1 Big Ten) head to Purdue tonight and host No. 1 Michigan on Saturday.
Indiana coach Tom Crean isn’t concerned about any letdown from Oladipo.
“I think he’s a great example of the old boring statement of daily improvement,” Crean said after Sunday’s win over Michigan State, a game in which Oladipo led the Hoosiers with 21 points. “I have not seen him have a day where he was not doing something extra in the day, whether it’s after practice, whether it’s in the summertime or the springtime and being in the gym extra.
“I think the biggest difference is he was always a very charismatic, personality-driven young man, who didn’t really want to hurt anybody’s feelings. He’s not real worried about that any more as a leader. He’s grown and I say that with dead seriousness. You can’t be a leader without being demanding and hurting some people’s feelings once and being able to call them out and he’s getting there.”
Crean noted that Oladipo’s statistical improvement, especially in conference games, was “astronomical.”
Indeed, his numbers through the first seven Big Ten games this season show a dramatic improvement from the same stretch last season. He’s made 11 more baskets in four fewer attempts (35-of-56 this year, 24-of-60 last season) and has more made 3-pointers and free throws this season than he did through the first seven Big Ten games combined of his freshman and sophomore seasons.
He also has more rebounds, assists and steals.
“We watch a lot of film as a team but he always watches that much more,” Crean said. “He’s getting a knowledge base to go with those instincts and his talent and his athleticism and the more he does that, the better he’s going to be.”
That could be a problem for Indiana’s opponents, starting with the Boilermakers (11-9, 4-3). It’s worth noting that Oladipo had the best scoring night of his career last season at Mackey Arena, scoring 23 points while shooting 6-of-14 from the floor and 10-of-12 at the free-throw line.