INDIANAPOLIS-Whether or not it was everything former Indiana Hoosier and Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo expected in his NBA debut isn’t the question because nobody could have predicted the reaction from the Indiana Pacers’ home crowd.
When Oladipo entered the game, for just a brief moment, there was an applause that led to a roar that was soon followed by 70% of the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse rising to their feet. It was humbling for the second overall pick from this summer’s draft.
“It felt good getting that reaction from the crowd especially in the first half. It was amazing; they showed a lot of love out there,” Oladipo said about his return to Indiana.
It wasn’t just the entrance; Oladipo’s first made shot prompted the same reaction. There were plenty of candy striped pants and No.4 Indiana jersey’s in the stands accompanied by signs and at times reactions that suggested the person cheering for Oladipo bought his or her ticket for no other reason than to cheer on the former Hoosier.
Although Tom Crean was sitting courtside grinning like a proud father, this wasn’t Bloomington no matter how much it sounded like it. Oladipo was welcomed to the league by Paul George on a fast break broken up at the rim with a monster block and in the third quarter Ian Mihinmi followed suit with a swat of his own that sent Oladipo to the floor once again reassuring the rookie he was in an entirely new world.
“Overall it was pretty good, but I like to win. I’m blessed, grateful and thankful but it’s going to take time. This was my first game; I have to continue to play hard,” Oladipo said of his NBA debut. “I know it doesn’t come overnight and that it’s a process; I need to be patient.”
Fellow Indiana alum Cody Zeller makes his first return to Indiana when the Pacers host the Charlotte Bobcats on December 13th. As for Oladipo, the next time you can catch him at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be on February 3rd.
Corey Elliot is a Beat Writer at the Indiana Sports Report and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association. He is recognized as accredited member of the media by the Pacers and has full media access.
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