Miye Oni was nearly overlooked by colleges due to an injury he sustained his Junior year of high school in California. Because of the injury, he did not have skills tape to send out to college coaches. Unfortunately, he would have to rely exclusively on any hype that his Senior year could generate. During his senior year, the only school recruiting Oni was Williams College, a Division III school. Division III schools cannot even offer scholarships to their athletes.
Luckily, Miye Oni played well enough in his senior year to catch the eye of one Matt Kingsley, Yale’s assistant coach. Kingsley showed a highlight video of Oni’s senior year to Yale’s head coach James Jones, who was enamored enough to offer a scholarship to Oni without ever having seen him play live.
Jones said, “It’s the first time I ever offered a kid by just watching tape. I watched the tape and I thought he was just really phenomenal on tape. He had a dunk that was ridiculous but what I really liked about him was his court vision, his seeing the floor and his passing the ball. He made threes, he did all the little things, he checked all the boxes. And academically he was more than sound. It was kind of a no-brainer to take a kid like that early.”
After starting for Yale over his three-year college career, Miye Oni was drafted 58th in the 2019 NBA Draft, by the Utah Jazz in a pick conveyed by the Golden State Warriors. He was the first Ivy League draftee since Jerome Allen in 1995, and Oni was the first player from Yale to be drafted since Chris Dudley in 1987.
Today, the Utah Jazz officially signed the 58th pick to a three-year deal—which was signed using cap space created by delaying the contract signings of our veteran minimum free agents. From what I’ve gathered, it appears that the first year of Oni’s deal is guaranteed, while the second and third years are non-guaranteed. This would provide some valuable roster flexibility during a time where the Jazz are prepping to drop an incredibly large stack of Benjamins to extend Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
Miye Oni is another swiss-army knife player. He is known for his 3pt shooting, rebounding, ability to finish at the rim, and, of course, defense. Oni shot threes at a clip of 37.1% over his most recent season. He stands at 6’5”, and boasts a giant wingspan of 6’10.75”. His length allowed him to average 6.3 rebounds per game.
My favorite stat, however, is his DRtg of 98.4. Defensive intensity is very likely what set him apart from his peers in the eyes of the Utah Jazz brass. If Oni accepts defense as his calling card, he may just be another diamond in the rough for the Jazz.
It is exciting to see such dynamic players filling out the remainder of the Jazz roster, like the last pieces of a giant mech suit being welded together. The league better be on the lookout. After years of careful planning, the Jazz are going all in.
Is it October yet?