Jeff Oliphant

jeff-oliphant-indiana-hoosiers-history
(Photo: IU Archives)

(Contributors: Sudhin Krishnan)

Jeff Oliphant’s Biography

Jeff Oliphant is a former basketball player from Lyons, Indiana who played for the Hoosiers from 1985 to 1990, red shirting his freshman year. Oliphant graduated from L&M high school and went on to play for Indiana University under coach Bob Knight. He played on the 1987 NCAA National Championship and 1989 Big Ten Championship teams. The L&M Braves basketball team was featured in a Sports Illustrated article written by Bruce Newman in the February 18th, 1985 issue, discussing the “hysteria” of Indiana basketball and told the story of the 1985 L&M Braves high school team.

Besides playing basketball, Oliphant was a student at the Indiana University School of Law. Later, he would be admitted into the Indiana State Bar Association and the United States District Courts in the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana in 1995.

  • Name: Jeff Douglas Oliphant
  • Position: Guard
  • Nationality: USA
  • Age: 52 years old
  • Birthday: June 19th, 1967
  • Hometown: Lyons, Indiana
  • High School: L&M High School (Greene County, Indiana)
  • Height: 6’6″ (198 cm)
  • Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
  • Seasons: 4 (1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1989-1990)
  • Jersey: #35
  • Education: Bachelor of Science (Indiana University), Juris Doctorate (Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis)
  • Twitter: @LMBraves85

Awards, Accolades, and Credentials

  • Admitted to the Indiana Bar Association on October 23rd, 1995
  • Scholastic Athletic Achievement Award
  • L.G. Balfour Award for bringing honor and distinction to Indiana University

Jeff Oliphant’s High School Career and Recruiting Profile

Oliphant’s high school tenure involved the highly recognized 1984-1985 L&M Braves basketball team. The team played in a gym which only seated 1,275 in a small town. The high school itself had less than 200 students, yet many fans would line up outside a few hours before games started to get a good seat.

Jeff Oliphant was coached by his father Tom Oliphant that season.

Prior to his father receiving the coaching position at L&M, there were petitions in drugstores and gas stations to fire their previous coach and to bring in Tom Oliphant, because he was from Lyons and because of his son Jeff. The Braves had a dream run of a season in 1985 until losing to Southridge in semi-state.

This Braves team, however, was known throughout the nation after being featured in February 18, 1985 edition of Sports Illustrated as well as having multiple collegiate bound players. Jeff Oliphant and teammate Tony Patterson were actually going to be featured on the cover of that 1985 edition of Sports Illustrated. However, after a last minute change up, they instead elected to put a picture of Wayne Gretzky instead.

Wayne Gretzky replaced the 1985 L&M HS Basketball Team on the cover of February 1985’s SI at the last minute

In that article that describes the 1985 L&M team in more detail, there are a number of interesting stories about Bob Knight and Oliphant.

Just a few minutes before the tip-off, the gym gets an almost palpable jolt when Indiana University coach Bob Knight and an assistant arrive to scout Jeff Oliphant. This is an event occasioning such intense communal pride that as the news of Knight’s presence travels around the gym, heads turn and necks are craned. Knight merely stands in one corner of the arena, desultorily eating popcorn.

Back Home in Indiana (February 18, 1985 Issue of Sports Illustrated)

Knight and his aide abruptly turn and march out of the gym with three minutes left in the first half. When Oliphant discovers that the object of all his attention has disappeared from sight, he begins to edge farther and farther down the sideline, trying to get a better angle on the corner where Knight had been standing. Soon he’s almost oblivious to the game, intently following the popcorn trail with his eyes, until finally he finds himself practically in the lap of Gary Cook, the Thunderbirds’ startled coach. When it becomes clear that Knight has vanished, Oliphant turns back toward his bench, still preoccupied with Knight’s sudden departure. (Jeff plans to enroll at Indiana in the fall and try to make Knight’s team, as a walk-on.)

Back Home in Indiana (February 18, 1985 Issue of Sports Illustrated)

Jeff Oliphant was one of the best players on this team and was key in their dream run in the state basketball tournament. His success at the high school level earned him a spot on the Hoosiers basketball team for the next 4 years. As mentioned in the article, Jeff was planning to enroll at Indiana University regardless of his basketball future and he had the hopes of making the team as a walk-on, which he successfully accomplished.

Jeff Oliphant’s Seasons as a Hoosier

1986-1987 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (16th Season)
30-4 (15-3 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten
🏆 NCAA Champions
1987-1988 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (17th Season)
19-10 (11-7 Big Ten)
5th Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA First Round
1988-1989 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (18th Season)
27-8 (15-3 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1989-1990 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (19th Season)
18-11 (8-10 Big Ten)
7th Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA First Round

Jeff Oliphant’s Statistics at Indiana University

Season G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1986-87 2 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0.600 4 1 0 0 1 1 3
1987-88 12 1 60 10 20 0.500 5 10 0.500 5 10 0.500 0 0 9 7 3 0 4 6 25
1988-89 21 0 105 11 21 0.524 5 12 0.417 6 9 0.667 11 12 0.917 10 7 4 0 9 7 39
1989-90 13 0 52 12 19 0.632 7 7 1.000 5 12 0.417 4 5 0.800 10 9 0 0 7 3 33
Career 48 1 223 33 60 0.550 17 29 0.586 16 31 0.516 18 22 0.818 33 24 7 0 21 17 100

Jeff Oliphant’s Career at Indiana University

During the 1985-1986 season, the year Oliphant red shirted, the Hoosiers finished second in the Big Ten and lost in the first round to the 14-seeded Cleveland State team, which ended up being the first 14-seed team to make the sweet sixteen in NCAA Tournament history.

(Photo: IU Athletics)

The next year for Oliphant would be one of the most memorable years in IU basketball history as he was part of the 1987 championship team. He averaged 1.5 points and 2 rebounds per game during this year and was part of a legendary group of players who defeated Duke, LSU, UNLV, and Syracuse to win the championship.

The following year was not as successful as the year prior. The Hoosiers finished the season with a solid record and made the NCAA Tournament as a 4-seed. Oliphant averaged 2 points per game and close to 1 rebound and 1 assist per game that year. Although the Hoosiers were a 4 seed in the tournament, they would lose in the first round to the 13-seeded Richmond Spiders, who ended up making the sweet sixteen. This Richmond team also featured Ken Atkinson, who is currently the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball team.

(Photo: IU Archives)

The 1988-1989 basketball season would end up being a great improvement compared to the year prior for Oliphant, as this Hoosier team won the Big Ten regular season championship. The team went 27-8 overall and 15-3 in the conference and was a 2 seed entering the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, the team fell to the 3-seeded Seton Hall Pirates basketball which barely lost to Michigan in the championship game and was coached by P.J. Carlesimo, who would end up coaching in the NBA for many years later. Oliphant shot over 50% from the field that year and averaged 2 points per game.

The final year for Oliphant was not as successful as the year before, yet the Hoosiers still made it the tournament as an 8 seed. Unfortunately, they lost to Cal Berkeley in the first round in a close game. Even though this year was not as successful, Oliphant was a captain of the team and averaged 2.5 points and close to 1 rebound and 1 assist per game in his final year.

(Photo: Indiana Basketball)

Jeff Oliphant’s Career after Indiana University

Upon graduation, Jeff Oliphant pursued a career in law. He received his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University’s School of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was shortly admitted to the Indiana Bar Association in 1995 and has been an attorney ever since. Since 2004, Oliphant has served on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He has also been named an Indiana Super Lawyer by his peers.

The George Leach Case

In 2000, he helped Indiana freshman George Leach sue the NCAA. The claim against the NCAA was that they arbitrarily denied Leach eligibility to play the season after his SAT score was 10 points shy of the requirement.

As of June 2019, Jeff Oliphant is an Attorney, Of Counsel at Landman Beatty, Lawyers, LLP located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jeff Oliphant’s Personal Life

Jeff Oliphant’s daughter Sophie Oliphant was a star player for Munciana Volleyball, which is a traveling AAU volleyball program based out of Yorktown, Indiana. She was part of a team that won the national championships three times in a row.

On May 2nd, 2018, Sophie Oliphant committed to play for Coach Steve Aird at Indiana University for the Hoosier volleyball program.

Videos of Jeff Oliphant

Jeff Oliphant has a number of legal videos from Hastings Law Firm, which are featured here below. Note: These are not basketball related.