If I made an all-breakout team this year, Oladipo would have probably been on it. He was on the verge of breaking out last year, scoring double digits in 7 straight conference games before getting nicked up against Michigan State. That seemed to affect him the rest of the season, but he provided a nice going away present against star-studded Kentucky where he scored 15 points in only 20 minutes due to foul trouble.
Oladipo is a guy who came to college as a great defender and role player. He played at DeMatha in high school alongside Quinn Cook, Mikael Hopkins, and Jerian Grant. He wasn't asked to do much handling, as the Stags had an All-American point guard and a wing who averaged 5 assists in his freshman year at Notre Dame. I saw Oladipo in this time and came away with the impression that he was just a complimentary wing that played hard.
Three years later, Oladipo still has that same motor and ability to fit in with other good players - only he is doing it for the #1 team in the nation at Indiana. He averaged 10.8 ppg last year and shot 47% from the floor. He shot above the 50% threshold inside the arc and got to the line nearly as much as fellow wings like Austin Rivers, Harrison Barnes, LeBryan Nash, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. In conference play, Oladipo's free throw rate looked more like a big man and he surpassed Barnes, Rivers, and Nash in terms of getting to the line.
Oladipo's driving ability, in my opinion, is more impressive than all of them. He has an extremely quick first step and enters the lane with no fear. He can isolate himself at the top of the key, using a swaying crossover before attacking, or head straight for the rim off the wing. Oladipo's experience in the lane always has you holding his breath - he enters the lane at such speed and seems short of options - yet he has shown ability to avoid picking up charges by contorting his body. Oladipo, while not having the surest of handle, manages to somehow stay under control at 100mph, and weave his way to the hoop. It is really impressive to watch - I get excited every time Oladipo takes to the top of the key and starts measuring up his defender. When that happens, there is little doubt that Oladipo will end up with the defender in tow split seconds later. He is that quick.
His ball handling has improved much over his career and it seems that he has a great work ethic. His improvement in this area has allowed him to take advantage of his excellent first step, but moreso, show off good strength and tremendous explosiveness at the rim. He is a very quick jumper who can go off of either foot.
Oladipo can also initiate a bit of offense off the dribble, looking like a bit of a combo guard at times. He is a rare breed of guys who can conjure up offense out of nowhere.
Defensively, he fouls too often, but plays with a lot of intensity. He will go for a steals and gets a fair amount of them thanks to his great hands. He also does a great job of using his jumping ability to its fullest to get rebounds at the top of their apex. Oladipo is a solid leader and can step up even more this year.
Part of his next step, is learning to slow down consistently, but he needs to develop a jumper. He seems to be able to get the mid-range shot, but at this point its a more efficient move to head into the lane. Oladipo's shot is a big concern and may be the reason some scouts haven't given him much of a chance, but that could end up in a mistake. Whoever gets Oladipo will be a lucky team.
This is a typical situation where teams miss out on what a guy can bring to a team because they are too busy at looking what he can't do. Oladipo has things you can't teach - athleticism, a NBA body, an excellent first step, explosiveness, and most of all, a terrific sense of competitive nature and work ethic. I'd much rather believe Oladipo can develop a jumpshot than believe PJ Hairston can learn to be effective without shooting once per two minutes.
Right now sites have Oladipo ranked 62 (Draftexpress), 110 (Chad Ford), 87 (NBADraftNet), and NBADraftInsider has him listed as the 10th best shooting guard.
I've got him 35th - a late first rounder depending on who declares. He scored a season high 15 points last night against Georgia and as the games get even bigger, you can believe that Oladipo's game will as well.
Tune in tonight to watch him against projected lottery pick Otto Porter.