With the addition of Elijah Olaniyi, the Miami Hurricanes 2021-22 squad now features a much needed perennial scorer.
Olaniyi, who turns 22 in January, was a 1,000 point scorer at Stony Brook, leading the Seawolves in scoring with 18 points per game. In addition, the 6-foot-5 guard garnered 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals on 43.5 percent shooting en route to a 20-13 record, placing them second in the American East.
An All-Conference First Team and NABC All-District First Team selection, Olaniyi’s points-per-game average has expanded every year, going from 7.8 as a freshman, to 12.8 as a sophomore, and now 18 as a junior.
The 36.1 percent three-point shooter has proven to be a reliable player throughout his play in the American East Conference and against Power 5 programs.
With standout guards Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty both heading into their final year of eligibility, Miami adds a go-to scorer, like Lykes, a great rebounder, like McGusty, and a veteran that could teach second-year guards Isaiah Wong and Harlond Beverly.
I decided to trace back to some of Olaniyi’s best games throughout his three seasons at Stony Brook.
Olaniyi VS Tom Izzo
Despite the loss, Elijah Olaniyi’s performance against No. 2 Michigan State was a great way to introduce himself to the basketball world. Shooting 6-10 from the field and 3-4 from deep, the freshman totaled 16 points and added 4 rebounds.
Following that night, Olaniyi went on a four game stretch in which he tallied double-digit points, the most notable performance being a 101-58 victory for the Seawolves, in which he totaled 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
His impressive played continued throughout the 2017-18 season, earning American East Rookie of the Year.
In just the second game of his sophomore season, the Seawolves completed the unlikely, upsetting South Carolina on the road, 81-83. Olaniyi completed the game with 16 points, and nine rebounds (five offensive) on 4-14 shooting.
Stony Brook’s victory against the Gamecocks was only the start to a successful season, concluding their 2018-19 campaign with a 24-9 record. As for Olaniyi, he started in 30 games, continuing his great play all the way to the America East Quarterfinals, notching 27 points on 9-for-21 shooting. Olaniyi went on to receive All-Conference third-team honors.
Remarkable 4 Game Stretch
Olaniyi’s stretch from January 1st to January 18th became history for Stony Brook’s program, tying the record once held by Jameel Warney for consecutive double-doubles with four.
It started with a 28 point, 11 rebound victory past Vermont. Next, two straight games with 22 points and 11 rebounds, resulting in one victory and one defeat. Olaniyi concluded the hot streak with 20 points and 11 rebounds in a victory against Albany.
His play surged all year long, notching two 30-point games, a game winner, and more. He received American East Player of the Week honors three times last season.
Against The Champions
Stony Brook gave the Virginia Cavaliers a noteworthy fight. Led by Olaniyi’s team-high 11 points and seven rebounds, the Seawolves kept it close to their ACC opponent, losing 44-56.
Despite a cold night, shooting 1-6 from deep and 4-14 overall, Olaniyi kept his composure and showed his ability to compete against the top players in the country.
Although Olaniyi hasn’t played premier competition on a nightly basis, he’s done his best to show signs of potential when having the chance. He’s a double-digit scorer almost every night and will fight for boards, something that was desperately needed last year for the Canes.
Miami did a great job snatching the guard from the transfer portal, hoping his final season of eligibility will be a special one. Best of all, the pressure of having to recruit a number of guards in the 2021 class has vanished, making this an A1 move by Larrañaga’s staff.