Victor Oladipo was a rare type of player. He wasn't considered to be a future NBA player entering his freshman year and before last season he was seen as a possible second round pick.
Indiana fans were treated to watching a player grow up by leaps and bounds over three seasons. He went from a defensive specialist, who could dunk, to a devastating slasher with a consistent three-pointer.
Now, Oladipo has gone on to the NBA and the fans are left to wonder who might fill his role with the team. The two things the Hoosiers will want in a player like Oladipo are: defensive intensity/effectiveness and consistent offensive improvement.
We can make speculations for days about which of the freshman recruits coming to IU this fall will have the biggest impact. Noah Vonleh is 6-8 and will play down low, but he has a history of foul trouble and gets himself into trouble on defense. He's the headliner of the class, and you expect him to have a big impact right away (he could also be a one-and-done type player).
Standford Robinson and Devin Davis are likely to take on the hybrid shooting guard/small forward roll that Oladipo played. Both are solid defenders, but Robinson needs to be more aggressive and Davis needs to work on his shot.
No one is expecting this class to immediately replace Oladipo (or Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, or even Jordan Hulls). But there is a lot of potential in this class, and if there is one thing we know for certain its that Tom Crean will squeeze out all the talent he can get from a player. Crean and his staff have been exceptional at player development and 2013 (as well as 2012) will be no exception.
Ferrell started at point guard the minute he stepped on campus. Its clear that he has a ton of talent and was easily the teams second best on-ball defender last season. He could easily be the type of defender that Oladipo was, but he's limited by his size. At 6-0 he can't defend any position beyond shooting guard, and sometimes not even that.
On offense, Ferrell is a play creator, not a finisher (again a lot of that has to do with his height). He can knock down jumpers and drive to the basket, but he's at his best when he creates for other players. That isn't something Oladipo did (despite Orlando considering moving him to the point). IU needs a player that can finish.
Hollowell stand out to me as the one who will step into this roll. Its very likely that he will start next season (along with Ferrell, Vonleh, Will Sheehey, and another freshman).
Lets look at his numbers from his freshman season and compare them to Oladipo's.
A few things to consider. Oladipo played nearly twice as many minutes as Hollowell. He has a higher shooting percentage because most of his shots were dunks, and he attempted just 0.8 three pointers per game. Hollowell had better numbers rebounding, but is also 6-8 and should have better numbers there. There is nothing to indicate that he couldn't have put up similar to Oladipo's freshman season if given more playing time.
Hollowell proved himself to be a solid defender as well. When given more minutes, he proved himself to be a solid scoring threat as well.
In high school, Hollowell averaged 23 points per game and nearly nine rebounds. He also recorded a block and a steal in each game to go along with two assists. He was the driving force for Lawrence Central.
In AAU play, the Indy Elite often performed only as well as Hollowell shot the ball. This was a team with Ferrell at the helm as well. Hollowell is the type of player who can do it all on the court. Before last season began, we believed that he be a solid option off the bench for the Hoosiers.
The problem was the Hollowell was trying to use high school moves against much better competition. Its easy to score at will when you are bigger than your opponents. It was clear that Hollowell didn't have the right attitude or mentality early last season, but as the weeks progressed he got better and focused on playing tough defense, which any coach will appreciate.
He has to let the game come to him and not try to force it on the court. He certainly has the potential to be a leading scorer on this team, and with only two starting spots truly set, its up to Hollowell as to what type of Hoosier he wants to be.
Don't forget to follow us on twitter, @hoosiers101.Tags: Indiana, Indiana Hoosiers, Jeremy Hollowell, NCAA, Tom Crean, Victor Oladipo, Yogi Ferrell
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