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

Eight former IU basketball players have played 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 four weeks of the season and provide a brief update on each player.

Victor Oladipo – Houston

Photo of Victor Oladipo

In a blockbuster trade this past week that centered around James Harden heading to Brooklyn, another big name switched teams. Victor Oladipo, who was in his fourth season with the Indiana Pacers, was traded to the Houston Rockets.

Following a season in which he only played in 19 games, Oladipo was looking to return to form this year for the Pacers. He played in and started nine games, averaging 20.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 33.3 minutes per game.

However, a 127-122 Pacers loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday, January 11 was Oladipo’s last game in the blue and gold. He finished that game with 21 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals in 37 minutes of action.

Yesterday, he had an introductory press conference with the Houston Rockets. One of the appeals to Oladipo about joining the Rockets was the way in which they play.

“To be able to join a unit that has the same mentality, the same goal, usually good things happen so I’m looking forward to joining them tomorrow, getting out there and playing the game I love and competing with the same chip that they have,” Oladipo told the media.

Regarding being traded once again, Oladipo is focused on controlling what he can control.

“Control what you could control, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Oladipo said as he spoke to the media. “I mean, you know at the end of the day it’s a business and certain things in this business are out of your control and you just got to focus on the controllables and stay in the moment and take every day one day at a time. If you continue to do that then you’ll get the best out of yourself every day because you’re not worried about the things that essentially you don’t need to worry about.”

As far as the opportunity that presents itself with the Rockets, Oladipo is excited to get going.

“An opportunity to come here and help impact winning at the highest level. I know where we’re at right now and you know I know there is a lot of room to grow, a lot of room to get better, and I just want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of winning at the elite level, at the highest level and that’s all I’ve wanted to do my whole career so I can’t wait to do that here,” Oladipo told the media.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 9/9

MPG – 33.3
Points – 20.0
Rebounds – 5.7 (Career High)
Assists – 4.2
Blocks – 0.2
Steals – 1.7
FG% – .421
3FG% – .362
FT% – .730

Eric Gordon – Houston

In a season where Gordon has been in and out of the lineup due to varying circumstances, unfortunately this past week was much the same. The Rockets played three games, with Gordon missing two of them due to tightness in his left lower leg.

Asked if there was a sense of relief that the limbo with the Harden trade over, Gordon is just pleased that this allows the team to have a clear direction moving forward.

“Now we have, you know, we have more direction,” Gordon told the media.

Asked about the all-Hoosier backcourt, Gordon was excited.

“Oh, it’ll be fun you know I’ve known Vic for a long time and it’ll be fun to get a chance to be teammates,” Gordon said as he spoke to the media.

In the one game that Gordon played this week, a 117-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, he finished with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field in 21 minutes of action.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 7/1

MPG – 25.6
Points – 14.3
Rebounds – 2.1
Assists – 1.6
Blocks – 0.9 (Career High)
Steals – 1.0
FG% – .434
3FG% – .296
FT% – .900 (Career High)

OG Anunoby – Toronto

Before the season began, Anunoby met with the media and discussed his game. Defensively, the focus had not changed. He wants to be recognized as an elite defender. On the offensive side of the ball, while he has taken strides, he felt as though there is more he can offer.

“I definitely think I’m capable of more than I’ve shown. I work really hard at the stuff. I think I’ve especially from what my role has been I think I’m capable of more for sure,” Anunoby told the media on December 22.

After averaging 10.8 points per game in the Raptors four games in December, Anunoby has started to take the leap that he knew he could. In January, Anunoby is averaging 14.3 points per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from three, and 72.0 percent from the foul line.

In the Raptors last three contests, he has scored 18,13, and 18 points, respectively.  Anunoby’s 2.1 steals per game is third in the NBA.

That consistency will be needed for the Raptors moving forward, as they are 4-8 overall and look to build off of their current two game winning streak.

2020-21 Stats:

Games/Games Started – 12/12

MPG – 34.8 (career high)
Points – 13.1 (career high)
Rebounds – 5.3 (ties career high)
Assists – 1.7 (career high)
Blocks – .6
Steals – 2.1 (career high)
FG% – .462
3FG% – .348
FT% – .714 (career high)

Thomas Bryant – Washington

Photo of Thomas Bryant

Unfortunately for Bryant, during the first quarter of a 128-124 loss to the Miami Heat on January 9, he suffered a torn ACL to his left knee 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 even received praise from teammate and two-time NBA All-Star guard Bradley Beal after Bryant had 21 points and 14 rebounds in a 123-122 win over the Brooklyn Nets on January 3.

“He’s been growing every single game this year like what last two games he was what 17 out of 18 from the field like he’s just been playing dominating basketball. The thing I love about it is that he’s always willing to learn, he holds himself accountable,” Bradley Beal said when meeting with members of the media after the game.

Now, the focus for Bryant will be to come back even stronger next year, knowing that his improvement this year did not go unnoticed, but rather was praised by his All-Star teammate.

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

This season did not begin the way Zeller had hoped, as he suffered a fractured left hand in the Hornets season-opening loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Zeller had surgery on December 24 and is expected to miss four to six weeks from when he had the surgery.

In an interview with The 3 Point Conversion Radio on January 4, Zeller was asked about how long he thinks he might be out and how long after he is cleared that he thinks he might be able to play again.

“I think the timetable is four to six weeks like everyone said. Like I said, there is nothing that you can do to speed up the healing of a bone so there is not really a whole lot to speed up that timetable,” Zeller said.

Having already dealt with a hand injury once in his NBA career, in 2019, Zeller told The 3 Point Conversion Radio that he hopes once the bone is healed enough the process of getting back will be easier than last time.

“You kind of get to the point where the bone is healed enough where it’s just how much pain you can deal with when you first come back so yeah hopefully it will be a little bit easier coming back from this one,” Zeller said.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 1/1

MPG – 19.0
Points – 6.0
Rebounds – 3.0
Assists – 0.0
Blocks – 1.0 (career high)
Steals – 3.0 (career high)
FG% – .500
3FG% – .000
FT% – .000

Romeo Langford – Boston

Photo of Romeo Langford

Langford began his second NBA season on the injured list. He tore ligaments in his wrist during last season’s NBA Playoffs. Right now, he is focusing on regaining strength and range of motion before he can get back on the court. While the timetable for a return is uncertain, he is unlikely to return during the first half of the regular season.

Juwan Morgan – Utah

Juwan Morgan ended his rookie season with the Utah Jazz by starting two games in the NBA Playoffs. While not playing extensive minutes so far this season, if Morgan continues to grow an opportunity for more minutes is a possibility.

Following a season high six minutes of action in a 130-109 win on January 3 at San Antonio, Morgan was ruled out of Utah’s January 5 game at Brooklyn due to the league’s health and safety protocols and has yet to return. Sunday’s win at Denver marked the seventh straight game he has missed.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 3/0

MPG – 3.3
Points – 0.0
Rebounds – 1.0
Assists – 0.0
Blocks – 0.0
Steals – 0.0
FG% – .000
3FG% – .000
FT% – N/A (Has Not Attempted)

Yogi Ferrell – Free Agent

Ferrell was signed to a 10-day contract on January 11 by the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, after playing two games with them, he was waived.

In the two games he played for the Cavaliers, Ferrell averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 38.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three.

He has career averages of 7.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game in 251 games played.

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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