VICTOR OLADIPO: As far as Indiana was concerned, Oladipo was the highlight on Thursday. In his team’s 63-54 win, Oladipo had a team-high 22 points and also pulled in six rebounds (according to my count; official tally had him with four).
Oladipo was once again aggressive on the offensive end, driving to the lane repeatedly and finding ways to score around the basket. His ability to move around the rim has certainly improved – he even had something that resembled an Euro Step during the first half. His 3-point shot was not falling (I had him at 0-6) but he had the confidence to keep coming with it. That’s an improvement over last season, if nothing else. It is clear that his range remains more in the mid-range category, at least for now.
What also stood out about Oladipo’s game is the job he did with former Butler star Shelvin Mack. Mack, now a Washington Wizard, scored 17 points but had only four field goals. Oladipo did a fantastic job of sticking with Mack, not allowing him to get any separation on his drives to the rim. Oladipo has been projected as Indiana’s next great defender; Thursday was evidence of that.
WILL SHEEHEY: There were not any big dunks to rave about (his best shot came on an alley-oop that was too low and fast; it was all Sheehey could do to redirect it towards the rim, and it rolled out). Rolled-out is an apt description for his play, actually: Sheehey had plenty of opportunities but just could not find a way to finish. He finished with four points and four rebounds.
JORDAN HULLS: The inclusion of Mack on the Purple team’s roster limited Hulls’ touches to nearly zero. This is a league where the one who has the ball is likely to dominate the game and not of the mind to give it up very often. Since the other teammates deferred to Mack, it left Hulls in the position (much like Matt Roth on Tuesday) of trying to get open but never actually seeing the ball.
Hulls did not score or register any stats of note. One thing I forgot to mention Tuesday and saw a couple times early in Thursday’s contest: Hulls is picking up his dribble too early. There have been a couple of times where he is stuck beyond the 3-point line and forced to pivot around and search for someone to pass the ball off to, when he didn’t have to be in that situation.
DID NOT PLAY: Christian Watford, Tom Pritchard and Matt Roth.