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Former IU basketball players to take the court in NBA restart



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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Noah Vonleh, right, takes a jump shot attempt guarded by Cleveland Cavaliers center Ante Zizic in the first quarter Jan. 5 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Vonleh was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year during his lone season at IU. Tribune News Service

NBA stadiums across the country have been vacant since the league halted play March 11 due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic. At that point, college basketball conference tournaments were still in full swing, and the nation hadn’t come to terms with the monumental changes the virus would bring.

Starting in early July, NBA players have been hunkered down in the league’s “bubble” in Orlando, Florida, as a part of the return-to-play protocol. After a more than three-month hiatus, the league is scheduled to resume play July 30.

Waves of news have circulated from the “bubble” over the past two weeks. First, players were unhappy with the quality of food that was provided by the Disney resort. Then, Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes was caught venturing out of the restricted area to pick up food and had to re-enter an extended quarantine period. Finally, rumors of players snitching on each other for not following the league’s safety guidelines caused a stir.

After all of the drama, games are still set to start at the end of the month.

Former IU guard Victor Oladipo originally announced that he was sitting out the remainder of the season to continue rehabbing the quadriceps tendon that he ruptured last January. Oladipo appeared in 13 games this season but was hesitant to play in Orlando for fear he may re-injure his leg after the long break. But after recent reconsideration, Oladipo may decide to suit up for the Indiana Pacers.

While there’s uncertainty about Oladipo’s status, here’s a look at more former Hoosiers who traveled to Florida for the restart.

OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors

Anunoby is posting the best statistics in his career so far this season. The third-year pro is averaging 10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting better than 50%. The Raptors are second in the Eastern Conference, only behind the Milwaukee Bucks.

Anunoby suited up for the Hoosiers from 2015-17 and was a preseason All-American in his sophomore year before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Regardless, he was still selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Raptors.

Romeo Langford, Boston Celtics

In his rookie year, the former Indiana High School basketball star and blue-chip recruit has bounced between the Celtics and their G-League affiliate the Main Red Claws.

Langford has appeared in 27 games for the Celtics, averaging 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 11 minutes per contest. The Celtics are three games behind Anunoby’s Raptors in the standings.

In his only season at IU in 2018-19, Langford tallied 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game on his way to being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.

Juwan Morgan, Utah Jazz

The former IU forward split time between the Salt Lake City Stars and the Jazz in his rookie campaign. In his 16 games of NBA action, Morgan averages 1.2 points along with 1.2 rebounds per game. The Jazz hold the fourth spot in the Western Conference.

Morgan, a four-year player at IU, earned a spot on the All-Big Ten third team in his senior season in 2018-19. He was also a part of the program during the transition from former coach Tom Crean to current coach Archie Miller.

Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

In 34 games this season, the sharp-shooter has put in 14.5 points per game while claiming a 37% mark from 3-point range. Gordon underwent knee surgery last November, sidelining him for 22 games. The Rockets are sixth in the Western Conference.

In his only year at IU, Gordon led the conference in scoring with 20.9 points per game. He was the seventh pick of the 2008 NBA draft and went on to win Sixth Man of the Year in the 2016-17 season.

Yogi Ferrell, Sacramento Kings

After going undrafted in 2016, Ferrell has put together a four-year NBA career. He’s dropped in 4.2 points and added 1.3 assists per game in 44 appearances this season. The Kings are 11th in the Western Conference.

Ferrell ranks in the top 10 of a variety of IU program records. He is sixth in scoring, first in assists, second in 3-pointers made, first in career games played and first in career games started.  

Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards

Bryant is having a career season as a third-year pro for the Wizards. While shooting 40% from the 3-point line and nearly 60% from the field, Bryant is averaging 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The Wizards are ninth in the Eastern Conference standings.

After Bryant was named third team All-Big Ten in his sophomore season, he was selected in the second round of 2017 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Following a one-year stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant has found a home with the Wizards.

Noah Vonleh, Denver Nuggets

The sixth-year pro is averaging 3.8 points with 3.7 rebounds per game this season. Vonleh appeared in 29 games with Minnesota Timberwolves this year before being traded to the Nuggets. The Nuggets are third in the Western Conference, behind only the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.

Vonleh was a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in his lone season with the Hoosiers.

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