Consolation Prizes: IU Basketball, Players Receive Honors

Okay, so the Hoosiers didn’t finish their exciting 2012–13 season on the high note IU fans had hoped for. No need to belabor that point.

We can still find some consolation in a string of honors doled out to the IU basketball program in recent days.

This afternoon, after several months of voting by fans and “experts,” the NCAA announced that IU’s 1976 undefeated national-championship squad was named the top All-Time March Madness Team. (Maybe we weren’t the best team this season, but we’re still the best ever, thank you very much.)

Despite having finalists in the other categories, IU was shut out elsewhere on the ultimate winners’ list—although two Indiana-born legends, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson, did land among the 15 All-Time March Madness Players.

Current IU players have raked in some individual honors as well. On Thursday, guard Jordan Hulls was selected as the NCAA’s Senior CLASS Award winner, reflecting not only his on-court grit and leadership, but also his personal character and work in the classroom and community. (And in a perfect world, wouldn’t recognition like that be cheered even more loudly than a purely basketball-based designation? Also, on a personal note, the author of this post would like to point out—proudly—that he, like Hulls, is a graduate of Bloomington High School South, where Hulls led the Panthers to a state title in 2009. So there’s that.)

It was also announced on Thursday that Victor Oladipo finished third in Associated Press Player of the Year voting. Additionally, he was named to the AP’s All-America first team earlier in the week. Not bad, considering that, coming into the season, most analysts regarded him as little more than a good role player who dunks and gets down on defense.

Now IU fans can get back to worrying about whether or not Oladipo and preseason All-American forward Cody Zeller will announce for the NBA draft.

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.