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Former Hoosier Victor Oladipo named NBA's Most Improved Player



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The Indiana Pacers' Victor Oladipo is defended by Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and Jeff Green in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. Oladipo, and IU alumnus, was named the NBA's Most Improved Player on June 25. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Former IU guard Victor Oladipo has come a long way since his college basketball-playing days in Bloomington.

At the NBA Awards Show in New York City on Monday night, it was announced that Oladipo, who currently plays for the Indiana Pacers, would be given the NBA's Most Improved Player award for the 2017-18 season.

Oladipo beat out the likes of Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets to become the fifth player in Pacers history to win the award, following in the footsteps of Paul George, Danny Granger, Jermaine O'Neal and Jalen Rose.

2017-18 marked the first season in which Oladipo played for the Pacers after being traded along with forward Domantas Sabonis by the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for George. Before playing for the Thunder, he played for the Orlando Magic for three seasons after the Magic drafted him second overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Oladipo led the Pacers to a fifth-place regular season finish after leading the team in scoring with 23.1 points per game. They were then eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in seven games by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

He also led the entire league in steals at 2.43 steals per game, resulting in his being named to the First Team All-Defensive team along with Rudy Robert of the Utah Jazz, Robert Covington of the Philadelphia 76ers and Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Along with the All-Defensive selection, Oladipo was named to his first career All-Star game as well. He scored seven points in 15 minutes in a win for the All-Star team selected by captain LeBron James of the Cavaliers.

Oladipo finished his career at IU after his junior year in the 2012-13 season, when he declared early for the draft.

During his junior season, he set an IU single-season record in steals, with 78, and led the Big Ten Conference in both steals and field goal percentage. On the year, he averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals, while shooting .599 from the field.

He would go on to be named the NABC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Sporting News National Player of the Year and Rupp Award winner, while receiving First Team All-American honors from Sporting News, the NABC and the Associated Press. 

Oladipo was also a finalist for the Wooden Award, Robertson Trophy and Naismith Award.

He finished his IU career with 1,117 career points and reached third on IU's all-time career steals list with 161.

Murphy Wheeler

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