The Indiana Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo was not even named the best player in the Big Ten in 2013 (that honor went to Trey Burke), but that did not keep the Sporting News from naming the guard their NCAA Player of the Year.
It was not so much Oladipo’s numbers, although those were fantastic: 13.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
Instead, it was the 6-foot-5, 214-pound Maryland native’s indisputable energy, a nose for the ball and unqualified leadership that helped Oladipo top the Sporting News’ list. It was his incredible, thunderous dunks to help swing momentum in favor of his Hoosiers. It was his relentless defense against several of the very best guards in the country. It was the all-out emotion he showed in helping lead Indiana to the top of the nation’s most competitive conference this year, the Big Ten.
But don’t take our word for it, or even that of the Sporting News itself. Just check out the highlights, and enjoy the exploits of one of the most explosive and gravity-defying players in the nation in 2013.
“He’s a great player because he plays both ends at such an incredibly high level,” Crean said. “There’s so much talent in there, and he’s made these gradual changes. His game really elevated last year in February, especially his ability with ball screens. I think that gave him more confidence because he could get to the rim. The shooting he’s just continued to work on.
“He’s able to fix what needs to be fixed and focus on what makes him best.”
No, Victor Oladipo did not have the stats that several other elite college basketball players put together in 2012-13.
But no one put together the highlights when all of the nation’s spotlights were directed upon him and him alone.
For the Sporting News, that, plus an entire season’s worth of wins, is good enough — and we have to give the decision to go with the heart of a player instead of what the calculator of a couch-potato scout has to say all the respect it deserves.