Denton: Oladipo Brushed Aside All Doubts
Maybe, just maybe, Oladipo’s basketball past will help him through the transition that he is going through now as a NBA rookie. A star shooting guard at Indiana University, Oladipo is trying to make the tricky transition to point guard at the NBA level. And whatever grace period he had early in the season could be gone now what with veteran point guard Jameer Nelson out with a sprained foot. That injury vaulted Oladipo into the starting point guard spot – one he is still trying to figure out on the fly during the NBA’s marathon season.
With the Magic (6-10), he is surrounded with support and the understanding that there might be some growing pains along the way. There is total belief in his abilities, belief in his work ethic and belief in his hunger to be the best player that he can be.
``The reason that I’ve commented on him being able to come back from a game that he would consider subpar and have no doubts that he will have the confidence, it comes from that (spirit),’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``He’s able to push himself. Having guys like him, who can push himself, is huge for a team. … He’s getting more thrown at him now and he’s very intelligent to receive information and be able to process it. So being able to challenge him with more is OK.’’
In his high school and college days, Oladipo would meet challenges head on with hard work and sweat equity. At Indiana, head coach Tom Crean said there would be times late at night when he would be leaving his office only to see Oladipo alone in the gym getting up shots. And Oladipo went to great lengths to make sure that he had a spot on his powerful high school team at DeMatha Catholic, driving an hour with his father, Chris, and sisters, Kristine, Kendra and Victoria, to get up shots before and after school.
``A kid growing up at that age shouldn’t act the way that I acted,’’ Oladipo said with a laugh. ``I just wanted to play basketball and I wanted to be pretty good at it. I wanted to be able to play at the (NBA) level that I’m at now. Whether that meant having to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to leave the house by 5 to get to a 6 o’clock workout, so be it. But credit my sisters and my dad for waking up with me too. They didn’t have to, but they did. I just wanted it, wanted to play and wanted to get better. So if it meant that I had to do crazy things, then I would do it.’’