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Indiana’s Victor Oladipo making the leap to the NBA

Indianguard Victor Oladipo (4) actiagainst Temple third-round game NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday March 24 2013 DaytOhio.  Indianw58-52. (AP

Indiana guard Victor Oladipo (4) in action against Temple in a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio. Indiana won 58-52. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson) ORG XMIT: OHAB126

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Updated: May 11, 2013 6:43AM



BLOOMINGTON — Tom Crean knew Victor Oladipo’s NBA potential a year ago.

“That’s one of the reasons we oversigned,” Crean said Tuesday as he sat alongside Oladipo at a table at midcourt in Assembly Hall.

Oladipo announced Tuesday he is leaving IU for the NBA, foregoing his senior season to take a chance that he is the lottery pick Crean said he can be.

While Crean may have been sure of Oladipo’s NBA prospects, the 6-5 guard said he didn’t make a decision until IU’s season came to an end.

“I was hearing stuff, I was realizing I had a good chance to go to the NBA, but I was focused on (IU),” Oladipo said.

The final factor in his decision to go pro? Oladipo will graduate with his degree in sport communication broadcast on May 4, his 21st birthday.

“I’m looking forward to that more than anything,” Oladipo said. “That’s truly an accomplishment. In my family that’s big, education. So for me to actually accomplish that is a blessing.”

Oladipo’s NBA stock soared as he improved his all-around game dramatically. He averaged a career-high 13.6 ppg this season, thanks to a near-60 percent shooting mark from the field. He was 182-of-304 from the floor, and shot 44.1 percent (30-of-68) on 3-pointers. He also averaged 6.3 rebounds and set an IU season record with 78 steals.

His postseason accolades included the Sporting News National Player of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Kansas’ Jeff Withey. He also earned first-team All-America honors from The Associated Press, NABC and the Sporting News and was named to the Wooden All-America team and All-Big Ten First Team.

The early departures of Oladipo and Cody Zeller — he’s expected to announce his NBA plans in a press conference today — and the graduation of Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford leaves the Hoosiers without four starters. Will Sheehey and Remy Abell are expected to take two of those spots, while freshmen may join those two and point guard Yogi Ferrell in rounding out the lineup.

“It’s been a crazy three years,” Oladipo said, his eyes tinged with red as he dealt with the emotion of his decision. “My freshman year coming in here was tough, won 12 games. … This year was a great feeling. We had a great team, won the Big Ten outright, went to the Sweet 16 two years in a row.”

Now it’s off to the NBA, degree in hand and the chance to make millions.

“I just felt like this is what was best for my family,” Oladipo said. “Coming in here like I said, graduating in three years, getting such a great education like I have here at Indiana University, I feel like I’m prepared for it.”



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