With the Orlando Magic mired in a frustrating six-game losing streak, rookie guard Victor Oladipo tries to keep perspective by drawing on his experiences at Indiana University.
Oladipo was part of a college program that endured some rough seasons but rebuilt successfully.
During his freshman season, the Hoosiers endured separate losing streaks of six games and nine games and finished with a 12-20 record.
But the team improved in time. Indiana went 27-9 and reached the Sweet Sixteen his sophomore season and went 29-7 his junior season and returned to the Sweet Sixteen.
"The people back there [in Indiana] constantly reminding me about it helps a lot — people I care about, people who coached me," Oladipo said.
"I'm just realizing that it's all a process. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. So, I know right now it might seem like we're struggling. But once we get used to each other and continue to keep working, the sky's the limit for us."
Harris is around
Tobias Harris' return date from a high-ankle sprain remains unclear, but coach Jacque Vaughn is pleased that Harris has accompanied the team on its road trip since Dec. 4.
"I think when you're away from the team, you miss out on a lot of things," Vaughn said. "I could put in a new play on a Tuesday and you might not have seen it if you were at home, and the next thing you know, you're playing on Friday and you don't know the new play.
"So, being around your teammates is good. Knowing the pulse of the team is good."
When the Magic face the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night, there will be some familiar faces on the Bobcats' bench.
The Bobcats' first-year head coach is Steve Clifford, who was one of the assistant coaches on Stan Van Gundy's staff with the Magic.
In Charlotte, Clifford hired former Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing as his lead assistant and hired former Magic assistant coach Bob Beyer and former Magic player development coach Mark Price as assistant coaches.
Under Clifford's coaching staff, which also includes Stephen Silas and Bob Weiss, the Bobcats began Tuesday ranked third in the NBA in defensive efficiency, limiting opponents to 97.7 points per 100 possessions.
Last season, Charlotte finished last in defensive efficiency, allowing opponents to score 108.9 points per 100 possessions.
Only two players on the Magic's active roster — point guard Jameer Nelson and power forward Glen Davis — were on the Magic when Clifford, Ewing, Beyer and Price were on the team's staff.
Andrew Nicholson, the Magic's second-year power forward, is known as a scorer, but Vaughn said he's seen improvement lately from Nicholson on the defensive end of the court.
According to the NBA's official statistics database, the Magic have allowed 96.2 points per 100 possessions when Nicholson has been on the court — the second-best defensive rating of any Magic player, trailing only Ronnie Price.
To be sure, Vaughn has attempted to play Nicholson primarily in favorable matchups, and Nicholson often has faced second-string units. But the numbers are encouraging nonetheless.
Nicholson said he's feeling more comfortable fronting opposing post players and keeping the ball out of the post. He said he feels like he has a better sense of where he should be on defense and when to provide help to teammates.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun