With the recent news that Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller will indeed be heading to the NBA draft, the speculation as to who will be playing when, where, and how much for the Hoosiers come next November is plentiful.
Today is March 1st, and I speak for college basketball fans across America when I say … let the madness of March begin!
Not that we needed the flip of a calendar page to usher in madness. This entire season has been madness, punctuated by this week’s losses of #1 Indiana and #3 Duke. Ho hum, just another week in the topsy-turvy world of college basketball in 2013.
Ever since the very first time I heard him speak, during an interview at his first Hoosier Hysteria event back in 2010, I thought Victor Oladipo had a chance to one day become an all-time favorite of mine.
I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I remember feeling such a genuine excitement about being Bloomington – my beloved Bloomington – coming from this East Coast kid with the big smile and bigger personality. And I remember feeling a sense of humility from him that, in conjunction with his clear confidence and self-absurdness, I thought would bode well for his development.
Of course, based on the scouting reports of him coming out of high school – great athlete but limited skill – I wasn’t sure if I should expect anything more than Steve Hart 2.0.
Fast forward to February 19th, 2013.
I’m a very optimistic sports fan. For better or worse, it’s just how I am.
And throughout the past few years, the Indiana Hoosiers Men’s Basketball program has become one of my most beloved teams. So, naturally, I’m an optimistic IU hoops fan.
And even though I’m an optimistic Hoosiers fan, I recognize the problems that have arisen within this the current top-5 squad:
Victor Oladipo: Once 144th in the Class of 2010 … Now One of The Most Complete Players in Indiana History
Keith Appling. Adreian Payne. Will Sheehey.
According to Rivals’ final rankings of the top 150 players in the class of 2010, those three young men, along with 140 other high school seniors, were better college basketball prospects than Victor Oladipo.
Fast forward two and a half years.
With all three of those young men on the court today in Bloomington, plus a plethora of other blue chip recruits – Branden Dawson, Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, and Gary Harris, to name a few – there was no debate about who was the best player on the floor:
Before the 2012-2013 college basketball season got underway last month, the Indiana Hoosiers’ pre-season All American Cody Zeller was featured on ESPN the Magazine, Sporting News, and Sports Illustrated’s covers. SI labeled him the “best player” on the “best team” (with the best pants, for good measure).
So if being the most popular man in Bloomington wasn’t already enough pressure on the sophomore center, he then had the entire nation’s attention shifted to him.
I don’t know if I speak for the other members of The Assembly Call team, but I fully support Indiana commemorating last season’s memorable ride with Sweet 16 rings.
Terry Hutchens wrote a terrific piece this morning that reminded me of a topic I’ve been wanting to address: Indiana’s scholarship crunch for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
Hutchens’ piece – entitled “Hoosiers need to find a scholarship for Roth” – echoes exactly what I have been thinking about this issue.
Don’t forget: as soon as the IU-Kentucky game ends Friday night, go to AssemblyCall.com/live for the latest episode of The Assembly Call. Andy, Ryan, and I will be there, as always, win or lose, with instant analysis and fan reaction.
I’m not really sure I know how to even adequately express the emotion I want to express, but it’s been nagging at me the last few days, and I can’t concentrate on any real work duties anyway…so I’m going to give it a try.
I can’t remember the last sporting event I wanted my team to win as badly as I want Indiana to beat Kentucky tonight. This may seem like a relatively obvious thing to say, what with a trip to the Elite 8 and a second victory over a hated arch-rival on the line, but the tricky part of the emotion as I peel back the layers on it is that I’m not sure either of those reasons is anywhere close to the main one.