Evaluating Miye Oni

April 13, 2019

by Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch Yale’s 6-6 junior swingman, Miye Oni play in a double-overtime, November 17th, 2018 game against Memphis, with thanks to YouTube via College Sports.  Oni is an athletic, skilled basketball player that has been getting some draft buzz, as he could potentially be a second round pick this year, and he has since declared to enter the NBA draft.  I decided to sit down to watch him participate in a full basketball game to assess his skills.  Here is my breakdown on his performance and skill set in that contest, as well as my thoughts on some of the other players that performed in that match.

Miye Oni had a decent showing in his team’s double-overtime loss to Memphis.  He is an athletic, skilled swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also operated as a point forward at times when he was on the floor.  He did commit a slew of turnovers on offense however, and he also struggled to knock down three-point shots in this game.  Oni did a fairly good job of scoring on quick, strong drives to the hoop in this contest.  He has a good first step off the dribble, and he can use either hand to score on layups off the glass.  He especially can get to the rim when he has space to drive the ball to the basket, and he also does a good job of dribbling off of screens to get there.  However, he can struggle to protect the basketball when defended by smaller, quicker guards, and sometimes he is not able to get his shots up because he can tend to get balls poked away by them.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Oni will run the floor to get free throws and scores in transition, and he even used a quick eurostep to score once on the break.  He also drew free throws on an acrobatic layup after receiving the ball on a backdoor cut.  He did miss on a dunk in transition, but generally Oni did a good job of getting scores on the move.  However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers in this game.  Oni did run off the ball to make a quick, corner three-point shot over a smaller defender early on, but he tended to miss on pull-up jumpers from outside of the paint area.  He did a slightly better job of making spot-up threes, but he still tended to miss three-point shots often when he would hoist them up.

Also, he was very turnover prone in this contest against Memphis.  For the positives, Oni is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he can operate and make plays in space.  He tends to make good reads, as he throws crisp, interior passes to set up scores for his teammates, he can find cutters on the move, and he can kick balls out to shooters to get them the basketball.  But while he would sometimes bring the ball up and they would run plenty of isolation plays for him on offense, maybe it might not be the best use of his skills to have him operate as at times a de facto point forward.   In this game, Oni was being guarded by a much smaller defender, and he often would have trouble protecting the basketball.  He would tend to expose the basketball, and he would usually get it poked away, and he even had basketballs poked away on consecutive plays to commit turnovers.  He also can be inaccurate with his passes at times, as he had one that was picked off, and he also threw another pass out of bounds.

Oni also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to get plenty of defensive boards, and sometimes he would bring the ball up and push it up the floor.  He also was able to get a defensive rebound in traffic, but there was one play late in the game where he bobbled a ball before losing it to an opponent, as he was unable to secure the basketball that time.  He also showed off decent defensive skills.  Oni did a good job of contesting shots when in position.  He was able to stay with an opposing ball handler when defending out on the perimeter on one play, and he managed to block the shot out of bounds.  He also will actively contest jump shots as well as shots off of drives to force misses, and he also will get his hands on balls to get deflections, but he also had some trouble guarding quicker players as he does not always move his feet well laterally when defending out on the perimeter, and he would get beat off the dribble to his right to allow scores.  He also had his hands down when defending a player out on the perimeter, as it led to an inside pass to a cutter in which the other teammate had to rotate to commit a foul around the basket.  Another time, he made a bad rotation by leaving his own man open to double on a opposing ball handler on a drive, but it led his team to allow a dunk at the rim.

In general, Miye Oni is a versatile playmaker that has a variety of skills that could prove to be useful at the next level.  He is a good athlete that can quickly get to the rim, and he also is an unselfish player that can rack up assists.  He also is a fairly good rebounder and will compete on the defensive end.  But he also can be streaky as a shooter, and he also struggled to make plays at times when matched up against smaller, quicker defenders on both ends of the floor.  He may have to adjust to a 3 and D type of role at the next level, as he will need to cut down on the turnovers and make more jumpers consistently, but Oni is a skilled player that could end up being a second round pick in the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

Memphis’ 6-3 senior point guard, Jeremiah Martin played well in his team’s double-overtime win over Yale in this game.  He played better as the game wore on, and he really excelled at driving the ball to the basket to get strong scores and free throws for his team.  He can finish plays using either hand, and he would often draw fouls upon his defenders.  He did struggle early on, as he missed a couple of jumpers on the break, but he was able to find his footing later in this contest.  He also was able to score on a backdoor cut, and he also made a quick, open spot-up three off the catch, but Martin struggled to consistently knock down jumpers outside of the paint area.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Martin is a patient player that sees the floor well, and he can throw solid passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  He has good timing on his passes, and he also managed to get a ball right back to a teammate on a give and go to get an assist in transition.  However, he also can be a bit turnover prone, as he can be careless when trying to create plays off the dribble on occasion.

Though he did not get many rebounds overall, Martin was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played good defense.  Martin would bring in considerable ball pressure, as he would run in to jump passes to get steals, and he also poked balls away to almost force additional turnovers.  He also excelled at contesting a slew of three-point shots to force misses.  However, sometimes he would get beat off the dribble, which would cause him to allow scores, and there was also one play where he tried to defend a baseline drive in the paint, but he was unable to do so as he was guarding a taller player.

Overall, Jeremiah Martin had a good showing in his team’s win over Yale.  He is an above average athlete that excelled at driving the ball to the basket to get scores, and he would often get free throws to help his team on offense.  He also had a solid all-around performance, and he also has recently earned a well-deserved invite to the 2019 Portsmouth Invitational this year.  If he plays well there and also turns in good workouts, he could end up being a potential second round pick, and Martin may have the skills to be an effective role player in the NBA.

Memphis’ 6-8 senior forward, Kyvon Davenport had a decent showing in his team’s win over Yale.  Davenport generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he also made a corner three off of a pick and pop play, but he struggled to score on drives to the hoop, as he had a couple of shots blocked in this games.  He did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he was able to leap up to haul in plenty of boards on both ends of the floor.  He also displayed above average defensive skills.  Davenport did a good job of rotating to block shots off of cuts, and he also tied an opposing ball handler to almost get a steal.  Plus, he also was active in contesting shots in the post and off of drives to force misses. 

On the other hand, he had trouble defending drives when guarding out on the perimeter, as he would get beat off the dribble to allow scores, and he struggled with his footwork when out there.  He also would get backed down when defending in the post once to allow a score.  Another time, he didn’t switch out on a screen despite being closer to the ball, as his team ended up allowing a three-point basket.   Overall, Kyvon Davenport is an athletic combo forward that can score on energetic plays at the rim, and he also showed some good rebounding and interior defensive skills, but he will likely need to improve his jump shot and playmaking skills.  While he may be a long shot to be drafted, he may have the skills to end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Yale’s 6-3 senior point guard, Alex Copeland had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Memphis.  On one hand, he was able to score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also played fairly good defense, but he also struggled to pass or handle the basketball at times, and he did do a good job of running the point in this game.  Copeland did a good job of knocking down pull-up mid-range jumpers and threes to space the floor for his team.  He tended to make jumpers from around the elbow range, and he also managed to draw three free throws on a three-point shot.  However, he struggled more to score on drives to the basket, as he especially had trouble scoring on drives in transition.  Sometimes, Copeland would have his shots blocked, other times he would miss wildly around the basket.  He did score on one speedy, right-handed drive off the glass, and he accelerates to the basket well when he gets there.

However, Copeland did not get any assists, and he also was a bit turnover prone in this contest.  He did not pass the ball very often, and he would tend to throw loopy or inaccurate passes that would get intercepted.  Sometimes he will be unable to find open teammates, and he did not show very good court vision in this game.  He also had a ball poked away that led him to commit another turnover that time.  He also was able to get his fair share of rebounds in this game.  Sometimes he would run in to get defensive boards, and he was able to push the ball up the court once.

Also, he played adequate defense.  Copeland is an instinctive defender that will jump on loose balls and intercept passes to get steals, and he also was able to contest shots to force misses.  However, he also was called for committing a blocking foul on a drive once.  Another time, he took the wrong angle when defending a drive as he ran into the other team’s screener, which led his team to allow a score.

Overall, Copeland did not have his best game in his team’s loss to Memphis.  Though he showed that he can knock down some jumpers, he did not pass the ball very well, and he also ended up committing some bad turnovers on offense.  He did get invited to the 2019 Reese’s All-Star Game recently.  Right now, Copeland may be a long shot to be drafted, but his ability to score the basketball combined with having above average physical tools for a player at his position could perhaps allow him to make an NBA team’s summer league roster either this year or sometime down the road.

Yale’s 6-2 senior guard, Trey Phills is the son of former Charlotte Hornets’ guard, Bobby Phills.  His father had a very good career as a sharpshooter in the NBA before his career was cut short tragically due to a fatal car accident that happened nearly two decades ago.  I wanted to see Trey Phills play to see if he could end up in the NBA next year, but unfortunately, I just was not very impressed with Trey Phills’ performance against Memphis in this game.

While Trey Phills has some scoring skills, there may be noticeable flaws in his game that may make it difficult for him to make it to the NBA.  For the positives, he did show that he can make spot-up threes, as well as score in transition, and Trey Phills has good speed to beat his man down court.  He did not take enough shots however, and he also didn’t seem to make many noticeable passes either, as he was just passive on offense, but he would sometimes find open shooters to set up scoring chances for them, but Trey Phills was a bit turnover prone on offense.  He had one pass tipped and intercepted.  He also committed an offensive foul off the ball another time as he pushed an opponent down inadvertently on that possession.

He also did not grab many rebounds, and he had his fair share of defensive struggles in this contest.  In this game, he had some trouble staying in front of his man when guarding opponents off the dribble.  Some of this was because his team would not communicate to him where the opposing team’s screener was on the court, which would lead him to get picked, and it would lead to scrambling situations.  Trey Phills notably had a tendency to foul three-point shooters by being too aggressive trying to close out on shooters, as he would be a bit late on his rotations, and then he would run into them, which would lead his team to give up plenty of free throws to his opponents.  He did have one good defensive play though, as he was able to block a pull-up jumper off the dribble due to possessing good lateral quickness and timing to do so that time.

Overall, Trey Phills is an athletic combo guard that can score the basketball, but he will need to be more assertive on offense, as he doesn’t shoot the ball enough to prove that he can consistently threaten the defense with his ability to knock down shots.  He will also need to show teams that can effectively run the point as he was playing off the ball in this contest, and he will also need to be a more disciplined defender in games.  Most likely, he may need to spend some time in the G-League or overseas to hone his game before he could compete for a roster spot in the NBA.