Victor Oladipo, Indiana’s All-American defensive master, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Award to be presented by Tulsa Sports Charities.
Oladipo, 6-5 guard who has opted to forego his senior year of eligibility to enter the NBA draft, was selected by a national panel of media members who cover college basketball.
Tommy Thompson, director of the charitable organization, made the announcement today, adding that Oladipo will accept the award at the Tulsa Sports Charities Legends in Sports Tribute to Wayman Tisdale dinner Sept. 30.
The Sutton award, according to Thompson, is presented to the collegiate basketball player who best exhibits the traits of tenacity and unselfishness that Sutton advocated during his Hall of Fame career.
In the language of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, one of the Five Civilized Tribes that settled in Oklahoma, “tustenugee” means “warrior.”
“Victor Oladipo certainly performed like a warrior last season,” Thompson said. “He played defense with a relentless and persistent passion, the true embodiment of an Eddie Sutton warrior.”
Oladipo, who established an Indiana single-season record for steals with 78 – an average of 2.2 per game – was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 10 Conference and the Co-Defensive Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Additionally, Oladipo was singled out as the National Player of the Year by The Sporting News.
Oladipo led the Big 10 in steals and field goal percentage, averaging 13.6 points on 59 percent shooting. Indiana (29-7) won its first outright Big 10 championship since 1993.
Oladipo has drawn comparisons to NBA all-star guards Russell Westbrook and Dwayne Wade. The scouting department of one NBA team refers to Oladipo as “Home Depot” for his versatility and ability to fix up any predicament.
Indiana Coach Tom Crean said: “It’s an incredible thing to watch someone who is as good a person, has the charisma, the personality, the integrity, the character to just come alive with this second-to-none work ethic that he has brought. It has helped transform our team.
“It has made everybody else in this program better … When he was on the court, he impacted the game for everyone and made every one of his teammates better,” Crean said.
Oladipo is the third recipient of the Tustenugee Award, sponsored by the John and Jerry Marshall Foundation of Tulsa. Previous honorees were Matt Howard of Butler University in 2011 and Quincy Acy of Baylor in 2012.
CBS basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb and the selection committee pulled Oladipo from a semifinal list of 10.
The Legends in Sports Dinner will be held at the Southern Hills Marriott. For ticket information, contact Tommy Thompson, 918-645-4905.
Tulsa Sports Charities is a nine-year-old non-profit organization with a track record for hosting blue-ribbon events and gold-medal athletes while delivering more than $500,000 in scholarships and donations to area universities and charitable activities.