Who is Indiana's best player?

Comparing college, NBA values of Hoosiers' Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo

Updated: January 28, 2013, 11:52 AM ET
By Jay Bilas and Chad Ford | ESPN Insider

Cody Zeller and Victor OladipoUSA TODAY SportsCody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are key cogs for Indiana. But which one is the top Hoosier?

During college hoops season, Jay Bilas and Chad Ford will start the week by addressing a big question, evaluating NBA prospects on the rise and looking ahead to the next week.

The discussion: Who is Indiana's best player: Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo?

Jay Bilas: To some, this may be a distinction without a difference and doesn't matter at all in a team game. And this is the perfect time to have this discussion, because we are coming off of a two-game stretch in which Zeller had his two worst games of the season while Oladipo has been at his best. In the past two months, I have been struck by how many basketball commentators seem to revel in saying that Oladipo is Indiana's best player. He is not.

I have heard several commentators, a couple of whom are respected voices who have been in the game for a long time, state that Oladipo is Indiana's best player "by far" and that "it's not even close." Reasonable minds can differ on such matters, but I do not agree. In fact, I disagree entirely.

Don't get me wrong. Oladipo, out of DeMatha (Md.), is a terrific player and is having a great season. He is among the best and most versatile defenders in the country who can guard multiple positions and get steals and deflections at a high rate. On the offensive end, Oladipo is much improved and has been hitting open shots, driving and getting to the foul line. He is a high-energy player who affects the game at both ends, and he has proved to be among the top 30 most effective players in the nation, in my judgment. I believe he is a first-round NBA draft pick.

However, he is not Indiana's best player. Cody Zeller is.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider