Hoosier Larceny: A Case for Victor Oladipo and the Wooden Award

by Dale Yarborough
ACC Bureau Reporter

The John Wooden Award will be presented Friday night to Trey Burke from Michigan. The All-American team was chosen earlier in the week, and Burke will join an elite group of players who have won this prestigious award. Past winners include: Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984), Christian Laettner (1992), and even Kevin Durant (2007). My belief is that while Trey Burke is an outstanding player, Victor Oladipo certainly has the talent and resume to earn this award.

Although Indiana did not win the National Championship this year, or even manage to escape Syracuse in the Sweet 16, Victor Oladipo brought an incredible joy and pride to Indiana’s campus and to all of Hoosier nation with his exciting style of play. Oladipo is a 6’5”, 214 lbs. junior this year, who is still debating whether or not he will enter the NBA Draft that will be held on Thursday, June 27th.


Victor Oladipo has comparable characteristics in likeness to that of Michael Jordan’s inhuman ability to jump and glide through the air, and has a great ability as on off-ball scorer to do many things that other players cannot. He also has a great jump shot at nearly 60% FG for the 2013 season, and shot 44% from behind the three-point line. The Hoosiers would have a phenomenal player returning next year if Oladipo turns down the NBA and the large sum of money he would earn from turning professional. Fortunately for fans of Oladipo, at just 20 years old, the best is yet to come from him no matter where he ends up.

The John Wooden Award is a high honor to receive and an award that marks the rise of a young player that has great potential. Oladipo wasn’t highly recruited, but as Coach Wooden would've appreciated, he worked hard in practice to become one of the best players in the country. His potential has yet to peak and there is no telling how high the ceiling is for him. Oladipo also has on and off the court composure, staying out of media attention for the most part, and purely letting his game do the talking for him. But what sets Oladipo apart from the rest of the other All-Americans is his professional demeanor. Not only do his stats compare with the best players in the NCAA, but on and off the court he has represented himself well.

There were certainly many worthy candidates for the Wooden award, and Trey Burke would’ve made my top 3 for sure. What made the Big 10 so entertaining this year was the amount of talent that was showcased in almost every game. While Trey Burke might win the NCAA Tournament MVP, I don’t think he was the best player in his own conference, much less the entire country. Oladipo deserved the Wooden Award, and if the Hoosier fans are lucky, he’ll make another play at it next season.