LAS VEGAS – Friday, the Dallas Mavericks announced that they signed free agent forward and Summer League standout Eugene Omoruyi to a two-way contract. Through two games, Omoruyi is averaging 16 points on 58.8 percent shooting from the field, seven rebounds, and one assist in just under 28 minutes.
Two-way players are eligible to be active for 50 of their team’s 82 games during the regular season, a change carried over from last season. While the Mavericks didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, two-way players earn a flat rate of $462,629, half the rookie minimum.
This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Omoruyi about his time at Summer League, his game, and his goals. What follows is part of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
Doyle Rader: What are you looking for both personally and professionally from your time out here?
Eugene Omoruyi: Just to show God I’m here for them and I’m ready to compete. Leave my all on the floor and just... My goal to be an NBA player for many years. It’s been a lifelong dream, so I dream about playing in the NBA for many years. Now that my dream is coming true, I want to make it through, make it the longest career I can. Just keep continuing going out there and play my game and do what I do best.
DR: How do you translate what you’re doing here into just trying to get to the next level?
EO: Just playing hard and being me. Playing hard and trying to win. And I know the win column hasn’t been checked yet, but it is my goal to play hard and just continue playing Eugene’s game and playing that I do best. Competing and doing the little things to help my team win. I’ve always said whatever I can help to help my team win. I don’t care about individual stats; I care more about my team winning and what I care about, at the end of the day, is being and playing the best together.
DR: Describe to me what is Eugene’s game? What are the little things that you look to do when you’re on the floor?
EO: Eugene’s game is really—I feel like I’m position-less. I feel like I can do a lot of things to find my guys, shoot, dribble the ball up the court, run the play. When it comes to defense, I’ll pick up anybody full court. I just, I do on both ends of the floor out there. I see myself as being me.
DR: You’ve got a kind of a knack for rebounding. What is your philosophy? How do you approach getting boards?
EO: Like I said, anything that helps my team win, I’m going to go out there and compete at a high level. Whether that’s rebounds, diving on loose balls, take charges—I do the little things that a lot of guys don’t want to do, so I’m big on that. And that’s how I’ve played my whole life. That’s how I play my game, and that’s how I kind of develop my game. By doing the little things to win, being where I need to be.
DR: What’s the difference between playing your senior season in Oregon and that level of competition? Because I know the PAC-12 is a difficult conference, but from there to what you’re seeing here in Las Vegas, what is the difference?
EO: The difference is that I feel like there is way more space. I’m starting to understand the NBA game more, understand different rules, and understand different concepts that the NBA uses. But, just using what I learned at Oregon I need to build on these things. That’s what I’ve done the whole summer here. They understand my game here. Really have just modeled myself after different NBA players and games. Really tried to mold my game around them. Continue to learn from them, I’m here to compete at the highest level.
DR: What players have you watched, what players do you try and take things from?
EO: Jae Crowder, P.J. Tucker, Draymond Green, those are my three guys. I see them in different ways and I also my own type of player, but I’m just out there competing. I’m out there to win.
DR: What’s been the biggest surprise that you’ve seen from just playing on this team and your teammates. Is there anything that’s just surprised you?
EO: No, definitely not. I haven’t had any surprises. I’ve wanted to be in this moment my whole life, so I’m not surprised. I just want to be in this moment and going out there and compete every day because I know how long the road was to get here. And I know that a lot of people still overlook me and I want to continue to prove them wrong. But that’s the kind of mindset I can go with.
DR: I think that’s a common thread. Just being overlooked.
EO: Yes, so the thing about me, I’m just so lucky for making the team. I know what I’m capable of and I know what I can do. … I’m just ready to be on an NBA team and I’m ready to go.