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Indiana Hoosiers and the 2013 NBA Draft

February 22nd, 2013 at 4:29 PM
By Evan Reller

While No. 1 Indiana is having an amazing season, its fairly clear that this team isn't going to look the same this fall. A few Hoosiers are set to graduate and its looking more and more likely that two underclassmen will go pro. 

Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls are both seniors with some level of pro potential. Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller have been listed as lottery picks in the NBA Draft for weeks now. 

Losing four starts would be difficult to recover from, but IU currently has the third best recruiting class in the country (more on that tomorrow). The upside of losing Zeller and Olaidpo is that there would no longer be an issue with scholarships, but its not exactly an upside that many fans would relish.

Here is a look at the upside, downside and possibility of each of these players reaching the NBA. 

Victor Oladipo

Oladipo is going to graduate in May, impressive but not uncommon among dedicated student-athletes. However, because he is graduating he won't have much reason to stay at IU. He'll have his degree and right now his draft stock couldn't be any higher. It seems more and more unlikely that he will return to the Hoosiers this fall. He is currently listed as the fifth best player in the Draft. 

Upside: 

  • Unbelievable, lockdown defender. 
  • Knack for big, explosive plays and is always in the right place at the right time. 
  • Never stops or gives up (see the Michigan State game). Great heart and drive to win
  • Excellent work ethic, as evidenced by his improvement over the past season. Went from a 21 percent to 51 percent three point shooter. 
  • Unreal athlete. 

Downside:

  • His turnovers per game have gone up as he has played more minutes. But I think his upside, defensive prowess and penchant for steals, outweighs this negative.
  • Limited as to who he can defend. At 6-5 he can really only guard point guards and shooting guards.
  • Slightly undersized to be a "typical" NBA shooting guard.

Cody Zeller

Coach Tom Crean once stated that if Zeller stayed more than two or three years, he would be shocked. It looks like he was right. Zeller's stock has fallen a bit this season. He is still a top ten player, and lottery pick, but there are a few issues. He might be a bit of a project in the NBA, but at 7-0 (and yes he is a seven-footer despite people listing him at 6-11) someone will take a chance on him, because you can't teach height. He might, might, stay at IU to complete his degree. His family has placed a lot of importance on education, and both his brother (Luke and Tyler) stayed all four years (although Luke had to stay and went undrafted). 

Upside:

  • Extremely sound, fundamental center. Might play power forward in the NBA. 
  • Very fast for his size. Is usually able to beat his man with his speed and quickness. 
  • Excellent passer for his size and position. 
  • Unreal in transition. There are very few big men who run the court like him, let alone pass and run like him. 
  • Really high basketball IQ. Rarely falls asleep on a play or is out of position. 
  • Has a surprising amount of range for a center. 

Downside:

  • Not physical enough in the low post. Plays facing the basket far too often and often drives to basket rather than posting a player up. Needs to utilize typical post moves, that we know he has, rather than just quickness. Needs to attack the basket rather than fade away or settle for a jump shot. 
  • While listed at 240-pounds, he will need to add a bit more size to bang with other centers in the NBA. 
  • Not a dominant defender. His size alone should translate to two or more blocks per game, but he is averaging just 1.3 per game. 

Christian Watford 

Watford will graduate in May, and even though he is very valuable to IU, he might not find his way to the NBA. He is a hero to IU fans for his game winning shot against Kentucky last season. He has shown tremendous improvement in his four years and will be key for the Hoosiers heading into the post season. He is ranked 173 nationally, and is the 36th small forward (per ESPN).

Upside:

  • Great size for the position. Listed at 6-8 with a 7-0 wingspan and weighs in at about 230-pounds.
  • Outstanding three-point shooter, especially in the clutch.
  • Has shown a lot of improvement, especially as a defender and has recently shown versatility defending multiple positions in the post.
  • Above average athleticism.
  • Solid post moves for his size and is able to work his way into the low block. 
  • Has improved as a rebounder and often has his best games when attacking the glass. 

Downside:

  • Not really dynamic enough for the NBA. 
  • Is a bit between positions, and doesn't quite fit the prototypical mold of a small forward or power forward. He needs to add bulk to his frame. 
  • Isn't that great of a ball handler and has a tendency to duck his head and bull rush the basket (sometimes it works). 
  • Is at times a volume shooter. 
  • Can be inconsistent and take plays off at times, but this has decreased dramatically this season. 
  • Has a tendency to "do his own thing" on offense at times which drive fans nuts. 

Jordan Hulls

Hulls is easily the least likely to be drafted. Before the Big Ten season started, he was looking like a late second round pick, but that was against less talented opponents. He has had numerous clutch shots in his career and IU fans wouldn't trade him for the world, but he doesn't have any of the typical ear marks of an NBA player. He has pretty much reached the extent of his potential. 

Upside:

  • Outstanding shooter, from really anywhere on the court. 
  • Is always willing to sacrifice his body for the good of the team (diving after loose balls, taking charges, etc.)
  • A prototypical "IU guy" that every great Hoosier team seems to have. 
  • Outstanding free throw shooter. 
  • Can play point and shooting guard.
  • Very good passer.

Downside:

  • Is only six-feet tall (on a good day). 
  • Not athletic enough to keep up in the NBA. 
  • While a tenacious defender who never gives up, he struggles against superior athletes. 
  • Not much room for improvement, what you see is what you get. 
  • While he can play point, he is much more suited to play the two-guard and not be the primary ball carrier. 

Losing guys like Hulls and Watford, who have been in Bloomington through the dark years of the program, is a tough pill to swallow. Losing them at the same time as Oladipo and Zeller is even worse. 

Appreciate these players while they are Hoosiers, they won't be around for much longer. 

Tags: Christian Watford, Cody Zeller, Indiana, Indiana Hoosiers, Jordan Hulls, NBA Draft, NCAA, Tom Crean, Victor Oladipo

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