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

Eight former IU basketball players are playing 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 three weeks of the season and provide a brief update on each player.

Victor Oladipo – Indiana

Photo of Victor Oladipo

So far this season, Oladipo has played in and started 8 of a possible 9 games with averages of 19.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Perhaps most impressive is him putting up big time numbers while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and a career-high 39.7 percent from three.

Following a 119-99 win on December 31 over one of their central division opponents, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oladipo was asked by the media about his eight assist performance. More specifically, if his performance was a product of his aggressiveness and opening things up for his teammates.

“I guess I’m starting to get my respect back a little bit out there so you know it’s more guys you know coming so you know I’m just trying to find the right play and find the open guy,” Oladipo said. “Tonight was the night where I had to get eight assists for us to win. There will be some nights where I got to score more points, I got to get more rebounds. Whatever is needed I’m going to do.”

Not only is Oladipo playing well, but he believes that this team can do great things come late in the season.

After a 114-107 victory over the Houston Rockets on January 6, Oladipo met with the media and was asked how dangerous he thought the Pacers could be.

“We could be very special, we could be a very good team. We just got to continue to keep getting better, continue to keep making big plays, having each other’s back,” Oladipo said.

As of today, the Pacers sit at 6-3, good for third in the Eastern Conference. They are a half game back of both the 7-3 Philadelphia 76ers and 7-3 Boston Celtics, who are first and second, respectively.

However, a five game West Coast road trip is on the horizon for Oladipo and the Pacers. It begins Monday night in Sacramento and concludes in Los Angeles when the Pacers face the Clippers on Sunday night.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 8/8

MPG – 32.8
Points – 19.9
Rebounds – 6.0 (Career High)
Assists – 4.3
Blocks – 0.3
Steals – 1.1
FG% – .424
3FG% – .397 (Career High)
FT% – .727

Eric Gordon – Houston

In a unique season where circumstances can change quickly, Gordon has done his best to weather the storms and perform at a high level.

Whether it be receiving a seven-day quarantine early in the season that forced him to miss two games or trying to figure out a steady role either coming off the bench or starting, Gordon just wants to win.

“I really don’t care as long as we win. That’s the main thing,” Gordon told the media before the season.

Having to adjust to a new coach and new system also takes time.

“New system you know so its we’re definitely still adjusting you can’t forget about that and with a lot of new players so it’s definitely going to take time it’s not going to you know happen overnight,” Gordon told the media on January 5.

Even with everything that is going on for Gordon and the Rockets, he is Houston’s fourth leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points per game.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 6/1

MPG – 26.5
Points – 14.5
Rebounds – 2.5
Assists – 1.5
Blocks – 0.8 (Career High)
Steals – 1.0
FG% – .424
3FG% – .283
FT% – .900 (Career High)

OG Anunoby – Toronto

Days before the season began, OG Anunoby received a four-year, $72 million extension.

Not only is Anunoby producing on the court, but he is also willing to take on a leadership role and help out the younger players in whatever they may need. His advice to them is simple.

“There is going to be highs and lows, just to embrace all of it, never get too down, too excited, and just stay confident,” Anunoby told the media on December 22.

Defensively for Anunoby, the focus has not changed. He wants to be recognized as an elite defender. On the offensive side of the ball, while he has taken strides, he feels 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.

The work he has put in offensively has him averaging a career high 12 points per game. Also impressive is he is doing so while not sacrificing his performance on the defensive end of the floor, as he is averaging a career high 1.9 steals per game.

2020-21 YTD Stats:

Games/Games Started – 9/9

MPG – 34.8 (Career High)
Points – 12.0 (Career High)
Rebounds – 5.6 (Career High)
Assists – 1.6 (Ties Career High)
Blocks – 0.6
Steals – 1.9 (Career High)
FG% – .430
3FG% – .275
FT% – .690

Thomas Bryant – Washington

Photo of Thomas Bryant

Unfortunately for Bryant, during the first quarter of a 128-124 loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night, he suffered a torn ACL to his left knee and will be lost for the season.

Coming into the season, Bryant focused on wanting to continue to play at a consistent level each and every game.

“That was my biggest thing was trying to show that I can build this over a consistent level day in and day out and that was a real key part about this summer as well you know just putting the days in but also can you compete at a very very high level for multiple days in a row, week after week, day after day no matter what,” Bryant said as he met with the media.

Feeling like he was able to find his rhythm in the bubble, building off that success and consistency was a big mental hurdle to get over.

“That was the real mental real big mental part that I had to get through to push through and I feel like I did that in the bubble and I feel like I’m doing that a lot now,” Bryant said when meeting with the media.

After a game in which Bryant had 21 points and 14 rebounds in a 123-122 win over the Brooklyn Nets on January 3, two-time NBA All-Star guard Bradley Beal had kind words for his teammate.

“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.

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 Detroit marked the fourth 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 – Cleveland

Ferrell was signed to a 10-day contract today by the Cleveland Cavaliers and will be available to play against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night after conducting necessary COVID-19 testing.

In the 50 games he played for the Sacramento Kings during the 2019-20 NBA season, Ferrell averaged 4.4 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from three.

He has career averages of 7.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game in 249 games played.

Note:  Noah Vonleh was signed by the Chicago Bulls and then later waived.  He is not currently with a team as of this writing.

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