‘Sheeladipo’ Rises Behind the Scenes
By: Robby Howard
It takes a seven-footer to overshadow two players.
Ever since Cody Zeller announced last year that he would play his college basketball in Bloomington, Hoosier fans have put their attention and hoop dreams into the freshman.
During the first two games of the season, fans were waiting for each moment to chant “Co-dy Zel-ler” and begged other Hoosiers to throw the ball into the post.
Meanwhile, the duo of forward Will Sheehey and guard Victor Oladipo, commonly referred to as “Sheeladipo”, have quietly become two of the top players on this IU team—accounting for about one-third of the team’s offense this season.
During the first game of the season, Sheehey scored 13 points in just 10 minutes due to flu-like symptoms. However, his output off the bench in limited time wasn’t the storyline. No, Zeller scored 16 points, including 12 second half points.
When Oladipo won Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging a career-high 18.5 points-per-game to open the season, he had to be mentioned alongside Zeller, after he was named co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Zeller is the player everyone wants to interview post-game. Zeller is the player that all the little kids want to see after the game. Zeller is the player that receives the loudest ovation during pre-game player introductions.
To be fair, Oladipo has received his fair share of Assembly Hall chants, too. It’s tough to keep a packed Assembly Hall quiet with Oladipo constantly soaring over the rim for alley-oops from Jordy Hulls like the one during the Chattanooga game.
But no matter what Sheeladipo does to earn attention, the big man is right next to them casting his long shadow over them.
And that’s a good thing for IU.
The fact remains that defenses are still much more concerned with Zeller than with either of the IU offense’s new weapons.
Zeller is a good passer, and he’s only going to get better. Chattanooga consistently brought double teams against the freshman. You don’t have to be a math major to figure out that means there is an open man.
With the early aggressiveness of this team, that means either Oladipo or Sheehey is likely to eventually receive the ball and drive it into the paint for an easy look, or at least draw a foul.
Or perhaps it means Sheeladipo gets an open look at a jump shot. Both players worked on their outside stroke during the off-season and it has shown. Sheehey is shooting over 60 percent from the field, while Oladipo is over 70 percent.
So as this season passes on, fans should continue to chant and support their “diaper dandy”, the guy Hoosiers would argue is the best freshman in the nation, but don’t forget about Sheeladipo hiding in the big guy’s shadow.
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