Some of the loudest cheers from Indiana Pacers fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday night went to a member of the visiting team.
Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo, who led Indiana University to a Big Ten title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament last season, received a thunderous ovation when he made his NBA debut midway through the first quarter. Among the many standing and cheering were Oladipo's coach at Indiana, Tom Crean, and dozens of fans in Hoosiers shirts and jerseys.
"It was amazing," Oladipo told reporters in Indianapolis after the game. "I got a lot of love right there. It's truly a blessing for them to come out here and support me and watch me. I'm grateful and thankful."
Most of the Hoosiers fans in the crowd got exactly what they wanted out of Tuesday night's game. Oladipo had a solid 12-point, 3-rebound, 2-assist debut in 23 minutes off the bench, but the Pacers emerged with a season-opening 97-87 victory.
A wing throughout his college career, the 6-foot-4 Oladipo is transitioning mostly to point guard with the rebuilding Magic. He had some good moments attacking the rim against the Pacers, but also endured some growing pains, most notably when he had shots swatted away by Indiana star Paul George and by big man Ian Mahinmi.
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