Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  By KEN HORNACK  |  Last updated 9/30/13
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Victor Oladipo admitted he didn't know how to react at first over the summer when Jameer Nelson sought him out in the weight room of the Orlando Magic's training facilities. But on the eve of training camp, the second pick in the NBA draft and the veteran who's about to begin his 10th season with the Magic are pretty much on the same page, even though they might be competing for the same position. "I'm just trying to soak up everything he teaches me every day," Oladipo said Monday at the team's media day. "He's a great vet. I grew up watching him. I know how good he was and how good he is. It's just crazy playing him in pickup (games) and seeing how he smart he is, how he gets everybody involved. I'm just being a sponge. Call me SpongeBob." Actually, if either player is close to resembling a cartoon character, it might be Nelson, who has battled the notion that he's too small to play point guard at the highest level for so long that he's now the franchise's all-time leader in assists. "I guess some point guards are 6-foot and some point guards are 6-4," he said, acknowledging the four-inch height advantage Oladipo has on him. Nelson has reached out to teammates in the past in his role as a captain of the Magic. He would often organize offseason gatherings in his hometown outside of Philadelphia, although he chose not to do so this summer in order to let his body recover from an injury-plagued and loss-filled season. In that respect, the transition to becoming a mentor to Oladipo has been natural. "I've pretty much already told him there's always going to be ups and downs," he said. "Just try to stay in the middle. That's the most important thing. You can't get too high or too low. He's going to win some games, he's going to lose some games. And he's a good enough player to understand what he's doing right and what he's doing wrong. I'll just be there to help him out when he needs it." Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, who played 12 years in the NBA, is glad to have both players on the 19-man roster. But he expects the mutual admiration Nelson and Oladipo have for one another to give way to gritty reality once practices tip off. "The thing I learned early on as a player is this is a man's league," Vaughn said. "There's men in the locker room who are married, who have kids, who want to support their families. That's the approach you have to have every single day. You come to work and work as hard as you can. You listen to your coworkers. You learn from your coworkers. But at the end of the day, there's a responsibility on yourself that you have to have, a self-disciplined approach. That's the challenge Victor will have." Oladipo made quite an impression in July playing on the Magic's entry in its summer league which included Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn, all of whom were coming off their rookie seasons. But while he demonstrated the ability to make jump shots from 3-point range with the game on the line, the fact that he finished the week with almost as many turnovers as assists showed the adjustment from three years in college at Indiana won't be without some growing pains. "I don't think it's a huge adjustment, as far as the game of basketball," he said. "But it's 82 games. I'm not used to that. I'm not used to the size. Every night, you're playing against the best of the best." As to the question of whether Oladipo might be more of a threat to Nelson at point guard or Arron Afflalo at shooting guard, Vaughn put a variation on the party line that has been espoused from the night the Magic took him after the Cleveland Cavaliers picked forward Anthony Bennett. "There's only one position on the floor, and that's the center, in today's game," he said. "That's the way we'll approach things. Victor played some guard for us, and he'll continue to play guard for us. Whether some people want to consider it lead guard, point guard, off guard, shooting guard, I'll leave that to everyone else's semantics. For us, I'm going to put basketball players on the floor and let them excel at playing basketball." "Wherever they put me," Oladipo added, "that's where I feel like I need to be in order for us to win. I'll go out there and play my butt off." A combination of injuries, the last of which was a sprained right ankle in late March, caused Nelson to miss 26 games in a season when the Magic finished with a league-worst record of 20-62. Veteran Beno Udrih, who took over for him, left as a free agent over the summer and signed with the New York Knicks. Setting aside semantics, it's clear that Oladipo's skill set will have to resemble Nelson's in time. "You're not just out there passing the ball," Nelson said. "You have to look for your own shot as well. But you have to understand there's a time and place for both. I think he'll get it. It's going to take some time, just like anything else. But I'm here to help him work at it." Vaughn is of the belief that Nelson and Oladipo can work in harmony, and he used an unusual analogy to prove his point. "On the farm, there are cockerels and there are roosters," he said. "And they live within the same area. They can co-exist." He then paused and asked, "Anyone know what a cockerel is?" You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at khornack32176@gmail.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best athlete by state all time
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Falcons benefit from questionable call after turnover

Report: Tomlin, Steelers fined Antonio Brown $10,000

Report: Kelly a candidate to replace Shanahan as Falcons OC

Royals release statement on death of Yordano Ventura

Sanders, Ware think Romo would be good fit for Broncos

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reports: Yordano Ventura killed in car accident

Report: Nelson expected to play vs. Falcons with kevlar padding

Irsay: Pagano safe, Peyton not in picture as potential Colts GM

LeBron James: Gregg Popovich ‘factors a lot’ into 2020 Olympics decision

Cuban softens stance on superstar status of Westbrook

Ric Flair gets into Twitter fight with Panthers player over Falcons fandom

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

Box Score 1/20: 37 years ago today, Carter said no to Moscow

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Ranking the top three conferences in college basketball

The NFC Championship’s two most important players

Eight bold predictions for second half of NBA season

Box Score 1/19: Happy anniversary to the 'Tuck Rule' game

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

QUIZ: Name the owners of these 50 famous NFL nicknames

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker