Height: 6’2″ / Birth Year: 2003 / High School Class: 2021 / Nationality: Australian / Shooting Hand: Left
EXYBL Stats: 20 PTS, 5.2 REB (1.8 O), 0.4 AST, 2.4 STL, 0.2 BLK, 2.6 TOV in 20.4 MIN on 42.5% FG, 26.7% 3FG and 67.1% FT
Justin Ochaya was one of the revelations of the U-17 EXYBL-Junior Championship, which was put on by AAU Australia in late June/early July. The 6‘2“ scoring guard from Melbourne turned heads with his scoring ability and competitive approach to the game and was arguably the competition‘s most valuable player before it had to be cancelled due to another spike in COVID-19 cases in the state of Victoria. The sample of available games is not big enough for a full scouting report, but it‘s certainly enough to give you my first impressions:
Offensively, Ochaya impressed especially as a driver. He regularly beat his defenders off the dribble with his quick first step and advanced handle. Thereby, help defenders often had to rotate over to prevent the guard from scoring at the basket. Nevertheless, he created countless opportunities to finish at the rim, where he proved to be proficient scoring through contact, especially with his left hand and in situations where the defender didn’t have established position below the rim. Occasionally, he even finished tough and-1’s against multiple defenders. He showed his competitive spirit in these situations too, never backing down from challenges at the rim and also consistently attacking opponents in transition.
He struggled more against head-on contact, where his size limits him a bit and he too often forced impossible shots over multiple defenders instead of kicking out to open teammates. It‘s hard to blame him for not making more kickouts out of these drives since his teammates combined for 2-38 from three during the tournament, but it‘s something that would greatly benefit him at the next level. Not only would it help his team(s) because he would create open shots for his teammates, but it would also help him, since opposing teams could not collapse on his drives as much if he‘s also a passing threat, which would open up more easy finishing opportunities for him.
Ochaya also showed some promise as a shooter. His three-point shooting percentage of 26.7% (8-30) might look ordinary, but his shot difficulty was quite high. It‘s also encouraging that he attempted six threes a game and made several pull-up jump shots, multiple stepbacks among them. He easily created separation for OTD jump shots and displayed great balance, no matter how much movement was involved. His release is mechanically consistent, albeit a little low. During this tournament, he spent a lot of time on the ball, averaging more than one true shooting attempt per minute, so there weren’t many off-ball possessions to evaluate, but consistently knocking down shots would be one way of providing off-ball value.
For a defensive analysis, the EXYBL setting wasn‘t ideal, as it wasn‘t nearly as structured as professional games, and some contests seemed to exclusively be played in transition. In the very limited sample of relevant perimeter defense possessions, Ochaya displayed good foot speed (he’s quite an impressive fast-twitch athlete), but occasionally gave up penetration too easily, either because of gambles or slightly slow hip turns. As an off-ball defender, he made good rotations and used his long arms and vertical jumping ability to make an impact around the rim as well as in passing lanes. Two of the most impressive plays of the competition were chasedown blocks where Ochaya, despite “only” being 6’2″, easily got his hands above rim level.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that this EXYBL tournament was not the absolute highest level of competition and it will be necessary to see Ochaya in a different setting to make conclusive statements about his potential. The most well-known competing player was Joshua Duach (‘03), who has already represented Australia at the U-15 Oceania championship, won the Australian U-18 championship as a member of Josh Giddey’s VIC Metro team, and has received D1-offers from Portland, Maryland and Weber State. Duach, like Ochaya, made the EXYBL Select Team, which will get the chance to prove itself in the EXYBL U-21 competition, which is supposed to happen whenever Victoria eases its lockdown. Playing with some of the most talented players in his age group against older competition could be an important step in Ochaya‘s development and will provide fans, scouts and college coaches with another chance to evaluate the talented scoring guard in a team construct, which should more closely resemble that of professional and college teams.
Justin Ochaya EXYBL Highlights: https://www.hudl.com/video/2/514981/5f2b4b1dff0c590d54e1e337
Full Game Footage: https://www.ballertv.com/events/exybl