Victor Oladipo's path to stardom at Indiana was about as unconventional as it gets. When his name was called for the Orlando Magic with the No. 2 overall pick, it was a rewarding moment for a player who has dealt with far more than just on-the-court issues.
Coming out of high school, Oladipo was not a highly-touted recruit. Instead, he was viewed as a raw, high-ceiling athlete who garnered just three stars next to his name on most recruiting networks. Indiana coach Tom Crean saw something in him, invited him to campus in September 2009 and secured a commitment just four days later.
Oladipo appeared in 32 games as a freshman but started just five, averaging 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds on a pretty bad Hoosiers squad. He displayed flashes of being a good player, though, giving him and IU some momentum heading into the 2011-12 season.
As a sophomore, Oladipo emerged as a starter. He averaged 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and two assists, leading the Hoosiers to the Sweet 16. Still, there was room to grow.
This past year was when he burst onto the scene as one of the best players in college basketball. In a game that has mostly been dominated by one-and-done freshman, it was a refreshing change to see an upperclassman become one of the game's top players.
Oladipo was a finalist for the Wooden Award, which is given to the nation's best player, averaging 13.6, 6.3 and 2.1. Those numbers still might not jump off the page, but when a player continually draws comparisons to Michael Jordan by longtime national analysts, people begin to pay attention.
But despite all of his accomplishments at Indiana, Victor's father, Christopher, has never really seen his son play the game he loves. He seldom goes to his games. The two have never had a conventional father-son relationship.
As this Washington Post feature details, Chris Oladipo wanted to send his son to China during the summer to study martial arts and improve his self-discipline. A high school player spending the summer before his senior year in a foreign country could have resulted in the end of his career before it even began.
Victor never made it to China. When schools like Indiana came calling, his father pushed him towards Harvard or Maryland. Their relationship became strained.
"I would love for him to want to see me play," Victor said in the same Washington Post story. "I want to show him how good I've become. . . . Sometimes I sit down and wonder why he doesn't come, why he doesn't want to see me play, but I guess it's hard to explain."
And just when things could not get any worse, Chris Oladipo is facing sexual harassment charges.
It's tough to imagine many of this year's draftees having a more unconventional journey to the league than Oladipo. Yet, throughout all of the trials and tribulations of the first 21 years of his life, Oladipo was one of the first two players chosen.
NBA general managers loved him before the draft for his approach to the game both on and off the court. He should see plenty of early playing time for the Magic because of his defensive tenacity alone. And if he's able to continue shooting the ball as well as he did this past season -- he hit 60 percent of his shots, including 44 percent from behind the arc -- the Magic have landed a star to build around for years to come.
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