The Skill Factory coach Rob Johnson talks TTU commit Esahia Nyiwe
Texas Tech landed a big commitment on Saturday evening when Clarendon College post Esahia "Zaye" Nyiwe announced his intentions to play his final two seasons for the Red Raiders.
Going back though, one of the coaches who had the biggest impact in his development was The Skill Factory (Georgia) coach Rob Johnson.
Coming out of Omaha Northwest High School, Nyiwe was talented but raw, and Johnson helped develop a lot of the skills you see today in that post grad season. We caught up with Johnson who helps break down the newest Red Raider.
What kind of player is Texas Tech getting in Esahia Nyiwe and how high is his potential? You see 6-foot-10 with his shooting ability, seems like Tech got a gem here...
"Oh yeah, the thing I like about Zaye is at his core is he's a defensive-first player. It's rare that guys focus in on that side of the floor but he's one of those guys that plays every second of every possession. So somebody might get beat and he's on time with his rotations, he covers up ground if somebody gets caught looking, he's really locked in on the defensive side and it's something he takes pride in.
Then offensively just as far as his athleticism goes, he's special. He's just super, super fast. He'll probably be the fastest player on the team, you'll have to see it in person but his speed is unreal for somebody that size. A 6-foot-10 kid that can run as fast as he can and he's got quick feet so he's fast, he's quick, he's got a great vertical, explosive, strong core so those things help him on the offensive end because he's got a natural handle and natural touch.
When he came to me a couple years ago he was just getting to the point of working and honing his own skillset instead of just being an athlete that can block shots and rebound, and he's just taken that and continued to work on himself and his mindset and studying the game and things of that sort. So his potential is limitless, obviously the goal is for him to play at the highest level and have that opportunity to play at the highest level.
The things he does without teaching is his motor is unbelievable, his athleticism is as good as anybody his size and he's got the will and he wants it. So him being a good person, its' easy to coach him, he's very coachable, he seeks knowledge and wants to become the best version of himself and he's willing to put the work in.
We really like the staff at Texas Tech and he did a great job out at Clarendon with coach Isaac (Amedee) just continuing to learn, study the game, build his confidence and put it on the floor. We think the situation at Tech fits who he is as a person, now it's just a matter of him finding out how quick he can get comfortable in what Texas Tech does and looking to contribute right away."
You don't really see guys at his size move like that with his shot, does he remind you of anyone you've coached before or at the next level?
"He's a little different than everybody because like I said he's just tapping into his skillset so you mentioned the shooting and I'm glad you mentioned that but that would probably be the fifth or sixth thing I'd mention about Zaye, which is a good thing because he kinda just does a lot of things pretty good.
I think he's got a really good handle for his size, he's quick enough, crafty enough and shifty enough to make moves off the dribble and beat bigger guys off the dribble, he can finish either hand and he's strong. It takes a while to understand all the things he's able to do because you're just not used to kids in his situation being able to do all of those things. So he's just kinda finding time to work on his skills and put himself in a position in a game to where he's smart enough to know when to utilize each of his tools.
In some ways I compare to Clint Capela or Nerlens Noel, as far as just being an athletic rim runner. Pick-and-roll, he can block shots at 13 feet and finish with his head on the rim. In other ways there's really no comparison, just trying to develop into what his natural skillset is and maybe somebody in the future can be compared to what he does."
Do you have any other guys at The Skill Factory that Texas Tech fans should know about for the future?
"Absolutely. Jaylin Galloway, he's 6-foot-7, shooting guard, 2021. I think he's one of the best players in his class in the entire country. I think he's a potential draft pick and I really enjoy seeing kids before they get the recognition and when they still have that chip on their shoulder to really grind. I enjoy being a part of that process because when it's all said and done the rankings and the hype doesn't mean nearly as much when you show up on the floor you gotta perform. So I think he's probably my biggest sleeper.
He's a guy a lot of people are going to hear about, he's not just potential at this point, he's good enough right now. Missing the AAU live period really hurt him just as far as having his name blow up but he'll be back next year and will play with us during the year, so he's somebody to take a look at. He's in the Klay Thompson and Devin Booker type mold of a shooting guard with size who can guard his position, he's athletic but he can really, really shoot so he's probably one of the more intriguing kids we have coming back.
Besides Jaylin we have Kai Sotto, he's gonna declare straight for the NBA Draft next year and I have another kid, Jalen DeLoach. 6-foot-9, power forward, athletic, he's kind of in the Zaye mold. He's young, he graduated at 17 and has offers from Clemson and Georgia. He's another kid whose got that defensive mindset with some offensive skill that I think is going to be really, really good at the next level."