Miye Oni selected by Golden State, traded to Utah Jazz with 58th pick in 2019 NBA draft
The former Yale guard is the first Ivy League player selected since 1995
Miye’s made it.
After deciding to remain in the 2019 NBA draft following three stellar years with the Bulldogs, guard Miye Oni was taken 58th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the second round. Oni’s name remained on the board as late Thursday night became early Friday morning, but NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum emerged a little after 12:30 a.m. to announce the selection, the first for an Eli since Chris Dudley ’87 went to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth round of the 1987 draft.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Oni will head to the Utah Jazz via a trade immediately after the Warriors’ selection.
Before Thursday night, Yale boasted a total of seven men’s basketball alumni selected by NBA teams but none since the Cavaliers drafted Dudley. Only one — Tony Lavelli ’49 — had been picked in the first two rounds. The NBA’s current draft format only allows for two rounds of 30 picks each.
After guiding the Bulldogs to their fifth NCAA tournament appearance in school history, Oni hired an agent and declared as an early entrant to the draft in late March. The 6-foot-6 wing later received an invite to May’s NBA draft combine in Chicago, putting forward an especially impressive performance in the event’s final televised scrimmage. Oni posted a game-high five three-pointers, a team-high 17 points, four rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist in that contest.
Though Oni protected his final year of collegiate eligibility before the May 29 withdrawal deadline, the Los Angeles native decided to remain in the draft after the combine, forfeiting his eligibility and concluding his Yale career with 1,308 points as the 10th all-time leading scorer in school history. Despite exiting after just three years in New Haven, Oni continued to reiterate that he has made plans to complete his Yale degree.
“As I embark on this next chapter, I will not just be playing for the name on the front and back of my jersey, but I will be playing for the entire Yale and Ivy League community,” Oni wrote in a reflection shared on the Yale Athletics website following his decision to remain in the draft. “I will be playing for the 17-year-old kid with zero Division I offers, I will be playing for the kid who was laughed at for chasing their dreams. I will be playing for the underdog, in any aspect of life, and I hope to be an inspiration to many, just as Hakeem Olajuwon was to me.”
In the month between the combine and Thursday night’s draft, Oni has worked out with 14 of the NBA’s 30 franchises, zig-zagging across America to meet with teams, including a call-back with the Milwaukee Bucks as ESPN insider Jordan Schultsz reported last weekend.
Other Ancient Eight athletes enjoyed a taste of the pre-draft process as well, including a couple of Yale’s most recent alumni. Trey Phills ’19 attended a workout for the Charlotte Hornets, for whom his late father Bobby Phills played in the late 1990s, while the Phoenix Suns hosted guard Alex Copeland ’19 at a session in mid-June. Harvard guard Bryce Aiken, meanwhile, removed himself from the draft before the withdrawal deadline in May, enabling him to return to Cambridge for his senior season.
Cornell’s all-time leading scorer Matt Morgan worked out for teams including the Hornets and Washington Wizards, while former Princeton guard Devin Cannady worked out with the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Bucks. Neither were ultimately selected in Thursday night’s draft.
The Boston Celtics picked LSU guard and New Haven native Tremont Waters 51st overall. A 5-foot-11 sophomore, Waters drew attention from the Yale coaching staff before he committed to the Tigers. Oni and Waters clashed in the first round of March Madness earlier this year.
Oni, the 2019 Ivy League Player of the Year and an AP All-American, will turn his attention to contract negotiations and a stint in the 2019 NBA summer league, which begins on July 5.
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