May 13, 2014
IU Hoosiers.com Interview With Victor Oladipo
What was the last year like for you?
"The last year was a whirlwind. From getting drafted, to the draft process leading up to the draft and draft day, then to participate in my first year in the National Basketball Association, was a whirlwind. When I was younger, I dreamed about playing in the NBA, and now to say I'm in it and to go through a year in it and it went by so fast. I was honored and blessed to me able to live out my dream and I'm going to continue to make the most of it."
What were the biggest adjustments you had to make in your life?
"I had to make little adjustments everywhere. Making adjustments about who you speak to, your friends that you talk to, your family and monitoring your money. I had to pay bills and live in an apartment, pay car notes. I had to make a lot of adjustments and be willing to make sacrifices as well. It's a different swing, but I am definitely getting used to it and I'm enjoying myself."
How well did playing at IU and for Coach Crean prepare you for that next level?
"Playing for IU and Coach Crean definitely helped me a lot. It gave me a huge step in front of my superiors. Coming here and learning the ins and outs of basketball, and the ins and outs of being a man, getting my degree in three years and maximizing my time here definitely helped prepare me for the NBA. I am definitely grateful for that. Coach Crean pushed me outside my comfort zone and he made me a better player for it. Without him I definitely would not be here today."
What did the experience of meeting so many Hoosiers across the country mean to you?
Knowing you took no shortcuts to get to where you are, Are you still able to follow the same path as a person, despite being a public figure?
"It is a surreal feeling. If you ask my teammates, my teammates could come out to me and be like `man, I've never seen anything like the IU alumni and how they come from everywhere.' They will be at any game, Oklahoma City to Canada. It is a crazy environment and a crazy fan base. Whenever you go to a place and you see the IU red, you see people who love you, just because you played here and went here. It is definitely a blessing and it warms your heart and makes you play even harder."
"I still have that chip on my shoulder. I feel like I haven't accomplished anything, but yet I have accomplished so much. I feel like I still have a long way to go to be great and I'm going to continue to keep working hard and do whatever it takes to get there."
What made IU and Bloomington the right fit for you to reach your goals?
Praying about it. I honestly just prayed and I believe god put me here for a reason. I believe god has a lot in store for me in this world. In order for me to make the most of it, I have to continue to work hard. It was a great fit. I came here on my visit and it just felt like the right place for me. At the time I wasn't getting highly recruits anyway and I didn't have a lot of schools knocking at my door. IU was always there and I took that as a sign from god that I was meant to be here, and I guess I made the right choice."
Looking back, what did being able to graduate in three years do for you personally?
"For me, it is big in my family. Academics are huge in my family. For me to graduate in three years was definitely a huge accomplishment for myself. It is definitely big when you go into the real world and you are able to have that IU degree. It means a lot and it opens a lot of doors for me. It not only tells about my character on the court, it talks about my character off the court, so that's huge for me in building my brand."
How often do you connect with your Hoosier teammates?
"I talk with all of them all the time. From Jordan Hulls who is in Poland to Christian Watford, who is in Israel, Derek Elston, Cody Zeller. Every time I'm in Cody's city or he is in my city, we always treat each other for dinner. I talk to all of those guys here and there. I love those guys and like I said a long time ago, we are going to be at each other's weddings. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them when they come back soon."
What have you and Coach Crean talked about since you finished your season?
"We have talked about making the next step. I think it is going to be a huge summer for me as a person and as a player. My role is definitely going to increase next year on my team. I'm going to have to take that leadership role. I'm going to have to become an NBA winner. In order to be great, you have to win. It is the greatest league in America and in order to test your greatness you have to win in it. Coach Crean and I just talked about taking that next step as a player and as a person, so my team can benefit."
What will you be doing this off season?
"I will be in Orlando for most of the summer, bringing people in to work me out. I will be trying to get better as a player and as a person. I will be around the new draft guys that we get, building my leadership and being more vocal. It is going to be a big summer overall and I'm looking forward to it."