Indiana Hoosiers basketball season in review: Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey.

 

IU's 12-20 season did not create many happy stories for IU fans, but the emergence of Victor Oladipo and his fellow freshman Will Sheehey was a positive development.  Both Oladipo and Sheehey were ranked near the bottom of the top 150 in their class by recruiting services, and because neither was from Indiana or the midwest (Oladipo is from traditional power DeMatha Catholic, a high school in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.; Sheehey is from Florida), neither player had a high profile entering IU.  Oladipo began to win IU fans over with a spectacular performance in the dunk contest at the season-opening Hoosier Hysteria practice, and both freshmen began to earn playing time and responsibility as the season continued.  This is not uncommon for unsuccessful teams (think of the popularity of backup quarterbacks on unsuccessful football teams), but the most common criticism of Tom Crean this season was, "why aren't Sheehey and/or Oladipo playing more"? 

 


Oladipo's overall season averages were 7.4 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game.  In Big Ten play, his numbers were fairly similar: 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds.  He shot 54 percent from the field overall, 52 percent during Big Ten play.  He was around the 30 percent mark in three point shooting.  The picture that emerged of Oladipo was of a player who may not have the shooting stroke to be a leading scorer on a quality team, but he seems like the sort of player who can contribute in any number of ways: taking the ball to the basket, strong rebounding for a guard, and excellent athleticism that can be useful on both offense and defense.  If he does develop a better jump shot, then all the better.  Crean seemed a bit hesitant to let Oladipo play long stretches, and perhaps it was because of a basic lack of comfort concerning Oladipo's decision-making.  Oladipo threw down some spectacular dunks, but he also missed more than his share, on plays where a layup would have been a perfectly acceptable option.  Still, Oladipo played reasonably well, and it's okay for a freshman to look like a freshman sometimes.  And, of course, Oladipo's half-court shot against North Carolina Central provided an excellent Gus Johnson moment:

 

 

As for Sheehey, he played somewhat less than Oladipo, but after playing sparingly in the pre-conference season, Sheehey became a regular part of the rotation during the Big Ten season.  His points per game average of 5.3 in Big Ten play was modestly higher than his overall number, 4.8, and his shooting percentages remained roughly in line.  Sheehey found most of his points inside the arc, but does show a decent jump shot and is very athletic, and at 6-6, has good size for someone who can play the guard positions.

Here is a glimpse of what Sheehey brings to the table:

The 2010-11 recruiting class was a bit of an afterthought for IU fans.  Sheehey and Oladipo were not well-known, were not heavily hyped, and by the time the 2010-11 season began, the classes behind Sheehey and Oladipo had begun to fill in with top 50 recruits such as Cody Zeller, Hanner Perea, and Yogi Ferrell, not to mention the underclassmen.  Also, before they enrolled, and especially before IU's recruiting bandwagon started to fill up last fall, Crean faced plenty of criticism for going so far beyond the state's borders to find these guys.  After their freshman seasons, both guys seem to have answered that criticism by showing that despite their rankings and relative anonymity, they are quality talents who seem likely to be important contributors.

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