Former Indiana standouts Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller became the first Hoosiers to be selected in the top five of the same NBA draft.
Oladipo, a 6-foot-4 guard, was chosen by the Orlando Magic with the No. 2 pick Thursday night, and Zeller, a 7-foot center, went at No. 4 to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The selections were handed down from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The former Hoosiers, who both decided to leave school early to enter the draft, were the No. 21 and No. 22 players in IU history selected during the first round. And they became the first two first-round picks since Eric Gordon (No. 7) and DJ White (No. 29) in 2008.
These are the first two players drafted in the Tom Crean era in Bloomington.
He put me in this position, Oladipo said of Crean during the ESPN broadcast of the draft. Without him, I definitely wouldn’t be here. I just thank God, and I give God the glory.
IU has had multiple players drafted in the first round five times: 1976, 1981, 1993, 2008 and 2013.
It says a lot about our coaching staff, Zeller said. It says a lot about the hard work we’ve put in.
I think Indiana is going to be good for a long time.
Christian Watford, a graduating senior who had late-second-round potential as a draftee, was not selected in the draft.
Oladipo helped lead the Hoosiers to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 2.2 steals as a junior.
I’m excited to get down there to get started and help you guys win, because that’s what it’s all about, he said in a short clip on the Orlando team website.
The native of Upper Marlboro, Md., went from a fringe top-150 recruit as an incoming freshman to a lottery pick after his junior season. His work ethic and consistent improvement throughout his three seasons at IU intrigued teams up and down the draft board.
We just really like what he’s about, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told ESPN during the draft. We like his work ethic. We like his ability to impact both sides of the floor. And he plays efficient basketball.
Oladipo was a finalist for three player-of-the-year awards and earned the Sporting News Player of the Year recognition. He was a first-team All-America pick by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Sporting News and The Associated Press.
Oladipo also earned National Association of Basketball Coaches Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
I’m just going to come in and help the program, man, Oladipo said. I’m going to come in and help impact the program in a positive way on both ends of the floor. I’m going to work my butt off, and I’m going to bring the work ethic there that they’ve never seen before.
Zeller fell from where he was projected to start the season – No. 1.
But he didn’t fall much.
The Washington High School product was the crux of the Hoosiers’ return from a sub-.500 team to a national title contender.
He averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds as a sophomore.
He was projected as the top choice in the draft during preseason rankings in 2012 but slid down boards because of questions about his physicality.
However, he tested well during NBA pre-draft workouts and impressed many teams during interviews and individual workouts.
Zeller was picked as a second-team All-American by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and The Associated Press. He was also a third-team choice by the Sporting News.