Oni, Jazz Youngsters Making Strides In Camp

Dec 9, 2020, 3:04 PM
Utah Jazz guard Miye Oni (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz guard Miye Oni (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There may not be much room in the Utah Jazz rotation for the younger players to find minutes, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t caught the eye of their teammates early in training camp.

On Tuesday, Bojan Bogdanovich commented on how surprised he was about rookie Udoka Azubuike’s talent level and athleticism compared to where he was drafted.

“The big guy is pretty athletic, I’m surprised that he’s that good and he was drafted that late in the first round,” Bogdanovic said. “He really goes hard against Rudy [Gobert].”

On Wednesday, it was rookie Elijah Hughes who drew a veteran’s praise.

“Eli had a great practice,” seventh-year guard Jordan Clarkson said. “He was making shots, be really aggressive, making plays putting on the floor.”

Miye Oni Finding A Role With The Jazz

Though both youngsters appear ahead of schedule in their rookie campaigns, it was guard Miye Oni who earned the highest praise from Clarkson and Jazz coach Quin Snyder.

“Miye has made a lot of strides,” Clarkson said. “It’s kind of slowing down for a little bit. He’s still aggressive and he’s still getting things right, but Miye has made a lot of steps forward. He’s really impressed me this camp.”

Before camp started, Jazz vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey mentioned the intrigue of Oni’s body entering his second season.

“Miye didn’t get the minutes at the Jazz level that he did at the [Utah] Stars level, but he helped drive significant margin defensively,” Lindsey said of the guard’ G League opportunity. “We’ll find out with Miye moving forward, but [he’s] 6’6 [with a] 6’11 wingspan, great movement profile, and a major edge and toughness to him.”

As a result of Oni locking in defensively, he’s finding better opportunities within the Jazz offense.

“They’re starting to play to their strengths more,” Snyder said of his young pieces. “Miye is playing more ‘get action,’ with passes and cuts as opposed to playing pick and roll. Those guys are doing different things that are going to help them in the game as well. And they’re raising the level of practice.”

The Jazz young players will get their first opportunity to play in a Jazz uniform Saturday when the team opens preseason against the Phoenix Suns in Salt Lake City.

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Oni, Jazz Youngsters Making Strides In Camp