Oladipo soars into Wooden Award race

AP Photo/Pat Lovell

Victor Oladipo nearly had the dunk of the year on Saturday.

Victor Oladipo was not on the Wooden Award Midseason top 25 list, but he has emerged as one of the top players in the nation, and nearly pulled off the dunk of the year on Saturday night against Michigan.

Oladipo is trying to become the second Indiana player to win the Wooden, joining Calbert Cheaney in the 1992-93 season.

What makes Oladipo so good? Quite simply, he can do it all.

Oladipo is one of the best pure shooters in Division I.

He ranks third in effective field goal percentage (69.7 percent), which takes into account the added value of three-pointers, and is also third in true shooting percentage (70.7 percent), which takes into account three-pointers and free throws.

Oladipo is ridiculously accurate from both inside and outside the arc, making 68 percent of his two-pointers and 51 percent of his three-pointers.

The last Big Ten player to finish a season with a two-point percentage of at least 60 percent and make more than half his three-point shots was Glen Rice in the 1989-90 season (min. 30 attempts).

Victor Oladipo This Season

Oladipo's versatility sets him apart. He can spot up for an outside jumper and be aggressive around the basket converting second-chance points as well.

He leads the Big Ten in points per play on both spot-up shots and putbacks of missed shots.

Against the Wolverines, Oladipo also flashed his one-on-one skills. He created a season-best seven points off isolation plays, including a pass to Jordan Hulls for a three-pointer that put the Hoosiers up 64-58 with less than four minutes remaining.

Oladipo would be arguably the best jump shooter to win the Wooden Award if he can maintain this pace the entire season.

His effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage would both be the highest of any winner, and he would be the only winner to finish the season making more than 60 percent of his twos and 50 percent of his threes (min. 10 attempts).

Statsheet stuffer

Oladipo is also one of the best defenders in the conference, leading the Big Ten in steals per game (2.5). He had a season-high six steals against Michigan State, leading to several easy baskets for the Hoosiers in the 75-70 win.

Oladipo rebounds well for his position as well, grabbing 5.8 rebounds per game, one of the top five rates among Power 6 conference guards 6-foot-5 or shorter.

Putting it all together, he could become just the second Big Ten player in the past 35 seasons to average at least 14 points per game, 2.5 steals per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. The only other player to do that was Iowa’s Ryan Bowen in the 1997-98 season.