Temple senior Khalif Wyatt and Indiana junior Victor Oladipo are prime reasons college basketball fans shouldn’t put much stock in recruiting ratings.
Wyatt was a two-star prospect (out of five) and has blossomed into the Atlantic 10 player of the year. Oladipo was rated as only the 53rd-best shooting guard in his class by ESPN and has become All-Big Ten, the league’s defensive player of the year and a probable first-round NBA pick if he leaves early.
“I’d like to tell you it’s all player development and me and my staff are killing it with player development. I think it’s just a little bit of luck,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said of landing Wyatt.
“He’s just developed over the years. I think it’s just a natural maturity kids go through. What he did have is a fearlessness as a high school player. That might be as important as anything out there because of the competitive nature of what it is we do.”
Indiana coach Tom Crean took an instant liking to Oladipo, who had modest stats at DeMatha High School in Washington D.C.
“I’ll give you the things that stood out: The humbleness stood out to me and, certainly, when you see him on the court, the burst, the athleticism, his ability to play at the rim,” Crean said.
The two stars likely will be matched up today. And Wyatt, coming off a 31-point game against North Carolina State, welcomes the challenge.
“He’s a good defender, but, I mean, he’s not the first good defender (I’ve seen),” he said.
Great start: Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg is in his third season, and the former Cyclones star has become so popular around Ames, Iowa, that he’s known as “The Mayor.”
He played 10 years in the NBA, and those credentials have helped attract players. Asked if there’s a program he’d like to emulate, Hoiberg said: “Kentucky. No, I’m just kidding.”
He added: “We’re just going to try to build it the best we can. When I got the job a couple of years ago, the biggest thing I wanted to do is to get as much talent as possible in the program where we can compete at the Big 12 level, which is, I think, the most athletic conference in the country, and it happened to be with a lot of transfers my first two years. Now, we’re starting to build it with four-year players.”
Snow coming: Although the region is expecting 5-9 inches of snow today through Monday, the games will be played as scheduled, the NCAA said.