THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ORLANDO, Fla. —
Victor Oladipo had a message for Orlando Magic fans, taped not long after he was selected with the No. 2 pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft.
“I’m excited to get down there and get started, and help you guys win, because that’s what it’s all about,” Oladipo said, in a video posted on the team’s web site. “Go Magic.”
With that, his pro career got off on the right foot.
The Magic went small with the second overall selection, taking the Indiana guard who measured just over 6-foot-3 at the draft combine. Oladipo was a first-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a junior, leading the Hoosiers to their first outright Big Ten regular-season championship in 20 years.
He set an Indiana record for single-season steals with 78, earning the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award in a season where he shot a conference-best 60 percent.
“This means everything to me,” Oladipo said.
Oladipo became Indiana’s highest draft pick since eventual Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas was taken No. 2 in 1981. The Magic had plenty of options with the pick, especially after Cleveland went with a surprise by taking UNLV’s Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 selection.
But the Magic knew what they wanted, and stayed with Oladipo.
“We just really like what he’s about. We like his work ethic and his ability to impact both ends of the floor,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told ESPN shortly after the selection. “We feel like he plays efficient basketball, which is always good. ... There are a lot of different things that he can improve on, and I’m sure when he gets here we’ll put a plan together and help him do that.”
Oladipo is primarily a shooting guard, though the Magic could use him at both backcourt spots.
Two picks later, the Charlotte Bobcats selected Indiana center Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick.
Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said earlier in the week the team needed a big man and the 7-foot, 240-pound Zeller should provide some needed help in the low post and on the boards.
The Bobcats finished last in the league in defensive rebound percentage last season.
Zeller averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blockers per game as a sophomore for the Hoosiers last season. He finished as Indiana’s career record holder in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1 percent from the floor.
It marked the first time ever two Hoosiers were selected in the top four picks in the NBA draft; Victor Oladipo was selected second overall by Orlando.
The Bobcats chose Zeller over two other available centers — Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len — as well as guard Ben McLemore from Kansas with the fourth selection. The Bobcats might have shied away from Noel and Len because of injury concerns.
Zeller was the only of the top seven picks to work out for Charlotte prior to the draft.