Via Charlotte Hornets on Twitter

Pro Hoosiers: How Former IU Basketball Players are Performing in the NBA Through Six Weeks

Eight former IU basketball players have or will play the game at the highest level during the 2020-21 NBA season. We will be monitoring their seasons with weekly updates.

Below we summarize their year to date performance with NBA stats and notes through the first six weeks of the season and provide a brief update on each player.

Victor Oladipo – Houston

Photo of Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo has played in and started six games for the Houston Rockets. After losing their first two with him, they have won four in a row with Oladipo in the lineup and five in a row overall to have a record of 9-9.

After a 109-103 loss to the Phoenix Suns on January 20, Oladipo was confident that wins would come for the Rockets if they stayed the course.

“There’s more than just a defensive potential, there is potential as a whole when we get everyone back healthy and we get everybody clicking and on the same page,” Oladipo told the media. “It’s going to take time, you know, it’s not going to come overnight but we just got to stay positive and optimistic. When we do that I think eventually the ball will get rolling and the wins will come.”

Oladipo proved to be right and he is a big reason why. In three games this week, Oladipo scored at least 20 points in each contest.

The five game winning streak is nice, but Oladipo thinks there is room for continued growth and evolution.

“I still think we’re a fairly new ball club as far as being together, all playing together I think is fairly new,” Oladipo told the media on Sunday. “There’s still always room to improve. It’s good that we’ve won these five straight games. It could be scary. We could be a very scary, special team if we continue to keep working hard and improving. Like I said, our better days are ahead.”

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 15/15

MPG – 33.1
Points – 20.8
Rebounds – 5.4
Assists – 4.6
Blocks – 0.4
Steals – 1.5
FG% – .417
3FG% – .342
FT% – .730

Eric Gordon – Houston

Following a week in which Gordon played in all of the Rockets four games, he followed that up by playing in all three games this week.

Gordon played 29, 30, and 23 minutes, respectively.

On the season, Gordon is shooting well inside the three-point line this season, which he credits to getting the ball in multiple ways.

“Getting the ball in multiple ways. I’m coming off pick and roll more, I’m able to get it in transition more. Before it was mostly catch and shoot or create something on your own but when you’re pick and rolling, and being able to get it in transition, or iso, it’s hard to stop any good player from doing whatever they want on the floor,” Gordon told the media on January 31.

As for what the key ingredient is for the Rockets to have success, it all starts on the defensive end of the floor.

“We’ve been playing really good defense that’s been helping us get a chance. As long as we do that, we’ll be better on the offensive end. We still got to get better on that end but defensively the effort is there and we still just got to be smarter but our effort is really picking up on the defensive end,” Gordon said as he met with members of the media following a win at Dallas on January 23.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 14/5

MPG – 28.2
Points – 17.0
Rebounds – 2.1
Assists – 2.2
Blocks – 0.6 (Career High)
Steals – 0.6
FG% – .444
3FG% – .340
FT% – .818

OG Anunoby – Toronto

Last week, Anunoby averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting just under 54 percent from the field and shooting 64 percent from three all while leading the Raptors to a 3-1 record in their four games over that stretch.

Pair that with a 30 point, 8 rebound, and 5 steals performance in the Raptors 107-102 win over the Indiana Pacers on January 24, and Anunoby seemed to be finding a solid rhythm.

Anunoby credited his recent success offensively to getting in the gym and putting in the necessary work.

“Getting in the gym, working on form close to the basket and then extending out and then just repeating the same shot,” Anunoby told the media following the win at Indiana on January 24.

Unfortunately for Anunoby, he suffered a strained left calf in a 129-114 loss to the Pacers on January 25.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was asked about some of the injured players on his team, including Anunoby.

“There’s not really an update,” Nurse told the media on January 30. “I know they both worked out individually at varying speeds but no update as are they going to be available tomorrow.”

Anunoby ultimately did not play in the Raptors 115-102 win on Sunday over the Orlando Magic, has yet to play since suffering the injury, and will likely miss another week.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 17/17

MPG – 34.8 (Career High)
Points – 14.6 (Career High)
Rebounds – 5.8 (Career High)
Assists – 1.6 (Ties Career High)
Blocks – 0.5
Steals – 2.1 (Career High)
FG% – .486
3FG% – .433 (Career High)
FT% – .745 (Career High)

Thomas Bryant – Washington

Photo of Thomas Bryant

Bryant continues to be sidelined, as he suffered a torn ACL to his left knee during the first quarter of a 128-124 loss to the Miami Heat on January 9  that will keep him out for the remainder of this season.

The injury came at a time when Bryant was starting to play consistent basketball and was averaging career highs in both minutes played and points per game.

However, the focus for Bryant now shifts towards coming back even stronger next year.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 10/10

MPG – 27.1 (Career High)
Points – 14.3 (Career High)
Rebounds – 6.1
Assists – 1.5
Blocks – 0.8
Steals – 0.4
FG% – .648 (Career High)
3FG% – .429 (Career High)
FT% – .667

Cody Zeller – Charlotte

In an interview with The 3 Point Conversion Radio on January 21, Zeller said he felt really good about getting back on the floor after suffering a fractured left hand in the Hornets season-opening loss, but also realizes that rust may be there at the start.

“I feel really good. I feel fresh, all I’ve been able to do is run and the past couple weeks I’ve been able to shoot so that part of it is not a big deal. I’ll be a little rusty even in the scrimmage yesterday just a step slow or step late. I think the other thing is just my teammates getting used to playing with me again,” Zeller said.

In his first three games back, Zeller came off the bench, playing no more than 18 minutes in those games as he eased his way back. However, in the Hornets past three games Zeller has been inserted in the starting lineup, playing 30, 26, and 34 minutes, respectively.

Perhaps the biggest contribution that Zeller has made upon returning to the starting lineup is his work on the glass. He has grabbed 14, 6, and 15 rebounds, respectively.

After a 108-105 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, Zeller spoke with the media about where he is in terms of finding his rhythm back out on the court.

“I felt a little better tonight,” Zeller told the media. “I was still a little winded in the fourth, still getting my legs underneath me, but the Pacers are a gritty team. We knew that we were going to have to grind out a win, so kind of proud of our guys for sticking with it.”

Zeller created some buzz with a dunk on Giannis Antetokounmpo.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 7/4

MPG – 21.7
Points – 7.9
Rebounds – 8.0 (Career High)
Assists – 2.4 (Career High)
Blocks – 0.6
Steals – 0.7
FG% – .460
3FG% – .000
FT% – .692

Romeo Langford – Boston

Photo of Romeo Langford

Langford continues to focus on regaining strength and range of motion in his wrist after tearing ligaments during last season’s NBA Playoffs. While the timetable for a return is uncertain, he is unlikely to return during the first half of the regular season.

When speaking with members of the media on January 29, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked if he had any update on Payton Pritchard or Romeo Langford.

“No update,” Stevens told the media. “Both are doing a little bit more but they’re not, you know, Payton’s a lot closer than Romeo but I don’t know what that means.”

Juwan Morgan – Utah

After ending his rookie season with the Utah Jazz by starting two games in the NBA Playoffs, Morgan was forced to miss seven consecutive games due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

Furthermore, on January 19, although cleared from health and safety protocols, Morgan missed his eighth consecutive game as he was a healthy scratch for Utah’s 118-102 home win over New Orleans.

The ups and downs of this season have not seemed to negatively impact Morgan as of late. Since being named a healthy scratch for Utah’s January 19 contest, Morgan has seen action in six consecutive games. In three of Utah’s last five games, he has played at least 10 minutes.

Perhaps no performance this season was more impressive for Morgan then in a 120-101 Jazz win over the Dallas Mavericks, which was a Friday night game televised on ESPN.

He finished the game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 steals in 21 minutes of action. Also impressive was his efficiency, shooting 5-8 from the field and 2-4 from three point range.

The Jazz are currently second-place in the Western Conference standings, with a record of 15-5.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 9/0

MPG – 6.3
Points – 1.7 (Ties Career High)
Rebounds – 1.4 (Ties Career High)
Assists – 0.3 (Ties Career High)
Blocks – 0.0
Steals – 0.3 (Career High)
FG% – .462
3FG% – .333
FT% – .000

Yogi Ferrell – Free Agent

Ferrell remains a free agent after his 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers ended with him being waived.

However, according to a report from NBA draft expert Jonathan Givony, Yogi Ferrell will be in attendance for the NBA G League regular season. It will run from February 10 to March 6 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 2/0

MPG – 20.0
Points – 9.5
Rebounds – 3.5 (Career High)
Assists – 2.5
Blocks – 0.5 (Career High)
Steals – 1.5 (Career High)
FG% – .381
3FG% – .333
FT% – .000

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