What the Magic learned about their pick in interviews

Andy Lyons/Getty Images/ZimbioEvery time Rob Hennigan talks to the media he talks about the Magic staying true to their process and staying true to their principles. He talks constantly of finding guys who project the values from the franchise. He wants to find players that want to be in Orlando and embody the kind of team he wants to build that creates a sustainable, winning organization.

In the glowing praise Hennigan gave for Victor Oladipo last Thursday after the Draft and then Friday as Oladipo was introduced officially to the Orlando media, all those qualities about the team's second overall pick were emphasized once again. This was a player, they said, who would come in and work hard and represent the kind of team Orlando wants to be.

"We feel like he is about what we want to be about," Rob Hennigan said about Victor Oladipo. "He's humble, he's a hard worker. He's unselfish. and he wants to be a great player in this league. And we feel those ingredients are ingredients that mesh well with what we are tyring to build here.

"He's very genuine and he has a big heart. And that really showed through in the discussions we had with him. He has a real sincerity and a real charismatic energy to him that we really like."

It was likely in that face-to-face time the Magic got with Oladipo in Chicago and then a few weeks later in Orlando that cemented Hennigan's belief that Oladipo was his man at the second overall selection. It was likely in these meetings, Hennigan got to learn about Oladipo the person (as well as the other Draft prospects).

Hennigan said the Magic had made their tentative decision to draft Oladipo a few days before the Draft. Hennigan has preached being thorough in the team's research and making sure no stone goes unturned, it was then likely these face-to-face interviews that helped the Magic differentiate and separate out the prospects before ultimately deciding on Victor Oladipo.

So what happens at these meetings? What can they reveal to us about the Magic's process?

"[We are trying to learn] a lot of different things," Hennigan said before the NBA Draft. "We're tyring to get a feel for how they think, how they act, how they see things. It's not so much scientific as it is trying to figure out what this person is about and what's his story. We try to get to know them as people more than anything."

That was a big part of Oladipo's selection. Hennigan said he asked Oladipo to show off his now-famous singing abilities in Chicago, catching Oladipo somewhat by surprise. But Oladipo delivered on the request and showed the Magic his self confidence in the process.


It only bolstered the things Hennigan and his staff liked about Oladipo from watching his game tape. It was one thing to see the passion and competitive spirit and his ability to impact both sides of the floor, it was another thing to see the man face-to-face and get to know him as a person.

That also stood out.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images/Zimbio"Just today, you see the maturity level," Jacque Vaughn said at Oladipo's introductory press conference. "You see the toughness that comes out just in communication. You see his desire and his passion for the game of basketball. Those things are special at this level. In order for us to be really good for a long time, we need individuals like that in our locker room. My first impression of him was extremely high and did not change as the process played itself out."

Oladipo still might be in the I-can't-believe-I-am-in-the-NBA phase. That will have to be shed quickly once Summer League begins Sunday.

It is clear though that Oladipo cemented his placei n the Magic's plans with the impression he left in those face-to-face interviews with Magic brass.

The organization, it seemed, learned a lot from talking with him and discovering who he is as a person and how he fits. The fact this became the clincher might have more meaning to the organization than anything he did at the floor at Indiana and may have bolstered their view of him as a growing player on the court.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily