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Last updated: Thu. Jun. 20, 2013 - 02:23 am EDT

NBA Draft latest payoff for Hoosier players

Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo likely lottery picks

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INDIANAPOLIS – The NBA Draft is a week away and things are getting hectic for Indiana's Christian Watford, Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo.

All three are traveling the country working out for NBA teams. Oladipo and Zeller are almost certain lottery picks for the June 27 draft. Watford is considered a long shot to get drafted in the first two rounds.

And then there is guard Jordan Hulls, who hopes for a pro opportunity somewhere, most likely overseas or with the NBA's D-League.

The fact the Hoosiers have so many players with pro potential is another indication of how far the program has come in coach Tom Crean's five seasons. After three straight 20-loss seasons, they won 56 games in the last two years with a Big Ten championship and two straight Sweet 16 appearances.

“It means a lot,” Watford said. “From where we came from, we went in the right direction. These are the fruits of our labor. The fact we'll have guys getting drafted, guys having a chance to play at the next level. You have to rejoice and be happy you're part of it.”

Watford worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. Reports had Oladipo working out for the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Kansas's Ben McLemore, Georgetown's Otto Porter and San Diego State's Jamal Franklin. Cleveland has the No. 1 pick.

Reports also have Orlando, which picks No. 2, as favoring Oladipo over McLemore.

Zeller is set to work out for Detroit on Friday. The Pistons have the eight pick.

Watford said he's been working out in Maryland with Oladipo, and stays in contact with Zeller and Hulls. He's projected as either a small forward or a power forward. Watford said he'll player wherever he has to.

“I'm not locked into anything. The game is turning more to a stretch 4 (power forward) anyway. Teams want (power forwards) who can step out and shoot. Whatever is going to get me on the court. I'm not locked into a certain position.”

pdiprimio@news-sentinel.com


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