The buzz surrounding Yves Missi centers on how much he has developed year-over-year, but even just over a few months his improvement was easy to see.
We watched Missi in April at the Nike EYBL event in Westfield, Ind. and noted the 6-foot-11 prospect’s motor as a shot blocker and a rebounder.
But watching Missi in July at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., it became clear that he’ll be more than just a rim protector who excels on the glass.
Missi’s emerging skill level really popped at the final EYBL event of the summer as he displayed an array of post-moves, an ability to make shots out of the paint, and he showed high-level judgment and ability as a passer out of the post.
“I’ve really tried to work on my footwork, mid-range shots, and also free throws,” Missi told The Daily Hoosier in North Augusta. “That’s been my focus of the entire summer and I’m going to keeping working on that until my high school season.”
The result of Missi’s development has been a wave of offers and attention from high major programs, and he has skyrocketed up the national rankings. Missi is currently No. 20 nationally in the 2024 class according to the 247Sports Composite, and he’s now a 5-star prospect.
Rankings are about projection, and Missi appears to be on fast track after only picking up the game four years ago. His is a story you’ve heard before, an African soccer player who realized his future was in basketball as he kept growing.
His AAU coach believes the development we are all seeing now is a byproduct of Missi’s dedication, along with the Cameroon native starting to get enough reps in the game.
“From last year to this year, everyone sees a tremendous leap with his overall game, being able to handle the ball, being able to shoot the ball, being able to pass it,” PSA Cardinals 16u head coach Terrance “Munch” Williams told The Daily Hoosier.
“He’s getting more comfortable. Once he got here last year, it’s a matter of how many games you have. I say a guy needs 60 to 90 games, and at that point you can start to judge them. If he continues to make these kind of leaps and bounds, the sky is the limit. He’s definitely made tremendous progress, he has a competitive nature, he understands the game, and I think it helps to be playing with the same group for a second year in a row.”
As is often the case with basketball players who started out playing soccer, Missi has great agility for his size. That makes him an imposing presence on the defensive end of the floor. Williams sees the greatest impact when Missi is defending on the perimeter.
“I think it helps him on ball screens, whether he’s hedging or trapping, his ability to be able to switch onto guards at 6-foot-11. The soccer background with his footwork and balance is tremendous,” Williams said.
Missi is one of two players on the 2024 PSA Cardinals Indiana has offered, along with point guard Boogie Fland. Williams, who is also the director of the PSA Cardinals, said IU’s relationship with the New York based program has blossomed recently with the new coaching staff, as well as from a somewhat unusual source — a grad assistant.
Isaac Green is in his second year as a graduate manager for the Hoosiers. A native of Franklin Lakes, N.J., he was a member of the PSA Cardinals Nike EYBL 17U coaching staff for five seasons under Williams and communicates with him regularly. Green held different roles with PSA including offensive coordinator, and he had an opportunity to become the youngest Head Coach in Nike EYBL history at age 17.
Now Green plays a key role in keeping Indiana in the mix for PSA prospects.
How much impact can a grad assistant have in the recruiting game?
“You can tell Indiana fans, Isaac Green matters,” Williams said.
Indiana will need every edge it can gain with Missi, who has received offers from Kansas, UCLA, Michigan, Ohio State, Baylor and several other high majors.
Missi went back to Cameroon after Peach Jam, and he has transferred to California-based Prolific Prep for his junior season of high school basketball. He said he plans to squeeze in visits when he is back in the U.S., but didn’t have definitive plans just yet.
Indiana has been putting in the work to earn one of Missi’s visits.
“I talk to both the assistant coach and the head coach. On June 15 I had a call with them, and I’ve also had a Zoom meeting,” Missi said of IU’s early involvement, while noting that no school has really stood out to this point when it comes to how hard they are pushing.
“I’ve watched some of their games, I know their style of play some, but I don’t really know too much yet,” he added of his knowledge of the IU program.
One thing he does know and like about Indiana — head coach Mike Woodson’s resume — that includes more than 35 years in the NBA as a player and coach.
“It’s good because he was in the business for so long,” Missi said of Woodson’s background. “He knows what it takes both as a player and as a man, on and off the court.”
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