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Former IU star Victor Oladipo traded to Indiana Pacers


Former Indiana and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Victor Oladipo was traded to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday in a deal that sent Pacers forward Paul George to the Thunder. Chet Strange and Chet Strange Buy Photos

Former IU guard Victor Oladipo will return to the state he once briefly called home and will continue his basketball career as a member of the Indiana Pacers.

After four seasons in the NBA, Oladipo has Hoosiers everywhere welcoming him back to Indiana. The 6-foot-4 wingman was traded Saturday on the first day of NBA free agency.

Oladipo, 25, was dealt from the Oklahoma City Thunder along with teammate Damontas Sabonis for Indiana’s All-Star guard, Paul George. The trade was first reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

The former three-star 
recruit out of high school left IU as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft after spending three seasons with the Hoosiers.

It’s only been four years since he was drafted and now Oladipo returns to Indiana as the highest paid player on the Pacers’ roster for next season.

Due to a contract extension that Oladipo signed last fall with the Thunder, he is set to make $84 million dollars over the next four years starting in the 2017-18 season. Indiana will be his third team in his relatively short NBA career after being traded to the Thunder last summer from the Orlando Magic team that drafted him.

Known for his defense, Oladipo has been showing a steady increase in his shooting abilities. This past season saw him shoot a career high in both field goal and three-point percentage after improving these stats in each year he’s been in the league.

Oladipo was the Thunder’s second leading scorer behind league MVP Russell Westbrook. Last season, he averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists, but his steals dropped to a career-low 1.2 per game. He was also able to cut his turnovers per game down to nearly half of the amount he had in his first year.

The Upper Marlboro, Maryland native has come a long way since his first prfessional season when he earned himself a spot on the 2014 NBA All-Rookie First Team. He now returns to the same state where he developed from No. 144 in his class to No. 2 in the draft.

Oladipo wasn’t highly touted coming out of high school despite leading his DeMatha High School team to a 32-4 record while securing the conference and city championships in his senior year. He committed to IU while the team was struggling and couldn’t help much his first year as the team finished dead last in the Big Ten with a 12-20 overall record.

In his second season as a Hoosier, Oladipo helped transform IU’s team from last in the conference the previous year to finishing the season as the 16th ranked team in the country with an overall record of 27-9.

By the start of his junior year, Oladipo was regarded as one of the premier defenders in college basketball. In his final season at IU, he started in all 36 games and proved that he was more than just a defensive specialist as he ranked fourth in the country in field goal percentage.

His hard work helped him develop into one of the brightest stars in college basketball during his time in Bloomington. The hard work did not go unnoticed, with Oladipo earning many awards and honors in the 2012-13 season.

Oladipo received first-team All-American honors from the USBWA and Sporting News. He was also named Sporting News Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year and NABC National Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a unanimous pick for first-team All-Big Ten and was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

On top of his individual success, IU finished 2013 as the outright Big Ten Champions. After his junior year, Oladipo was taken as the second overall pick in the following draft.

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