Updated: Jun 11, 2022
To conclude an event-filled summer, CrossRoads Elite Invitational provided an opportunity to get an early look at some of the nations top underclassmen all under one roof. Taking place at the YMCA Farha Sports Centers in Wichita, Pro Insight was on hand to cover the three-day event. In between games, we caught up with Omaha Biliew of Link Academy (MO) and MoKan Elite (KS).
Growing up in an athletic family, Biliew was introduced to a number of sports growing up before he decided to focus on basketball. Since then, he’s continued to work up the rankings to the point where he’s currently the ninth-ranked 2023 prospect in the country via ESPN. Standing at 6’7.5” and 212 pounds with a 7’1” wingspan, Omaha possesses the physical tools to act as a lockdown multi-positional defender and an inside-outside scorer at the next level.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Biliew discussed his background, the decision to transfer to Link Academy, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Omaha Biliew, from Omaha, Nebraska:
Pro Insight: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Omaha Biliew: My name is Omaha Biliew and I’m a first-generation American. I’m a South-Sundanese American and I was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Recently came from Iowa, it’s like my second home. I have five brothers and three sisters. My mom has been here since 2000 and ever since that I just grew into this basketball game a lot and this is where it’s taken me.
PI: Are there any other athletes in your family?
OB: Some of my older brothers. I’ve got a brother in college right now, he’s part of the 2020 class and he’s the first one to play collegiately. He’s right there with me, we’ve got a little competition between us. We’re just all athletes in our family — basically everybody older than me because I’m the youngest brother. So most everybody older than me are all athletes.
PI: Where do you fall in line with all of the siblings?
OB: Obviously I’m the best [laughs]. I’m the youngest brother, but I hope they look at me as an older brother now. I know they do.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up or has it always been basketball?
OB: Actually, I started playing soccer in middle school —football, track and field — and I actually did volleyball, too.
PI: When did you start focusing on basketball?
OB: I think it happened once I was away from my mom at 13 years old. I really got a glimpse at what I could do and I dreamed a lot about being a basketball player, an NBA player. So I would say 13 years old.
PI: At what point did you feel like you could be good?
OB: I would say it clicked for me at my first camp up in Indianapolis. It was called MSHTV and it just happened when I played against other top players and saw where I was amongst my peers. It just opened my eyes even more and that’s when I gained a bigger point of view on the game of basketball and really started to take off.
PI: What are your current measurements?
OB: Right now I’m about 6’7.5” with shoes, 212 pounds, and a 7’1” wingspan.
PI: Where do you get your height from?
OB: I’d say mostly from my father. I heard that he’s a tall dude, so I’d say him. My mom is a tall woman, so I think that’s where it’s coming from, too.
PI: Are your siblings tall, as well?
OB: Yeah, most of them are. We have a range of 6’6” to 6’8”.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
OB: I would say I’m very versatile...an elite defender who can play one-through-five. After that, I would say a dominant 15-foot game, a developing shot, and I’d say just a very versatile all-around game.
PI: What are some things you still need to work on?
OB: Right now I’m solely focusing on one-dribble pull-ups. Finding my spots and shooting from there. My shot mechanics — continuing to shoot over and over again.
PI: What would you say is most underrated about your game?
OB: People forget how skilled I am. They see more of my frame and they appoint me as a big and that kind of takes away my skill side of the game. So when they see me handling the ball, taking my man off the dribble they get surprised and it’s mind blowing to them.
PI: Describe this past season with Waukee.
OB: I would say it was a great season. Had great teammates and we pulled off the state championship. It was fun with the coaches. I would say it was a lot of ups and downs — even though we had a good team, there were points where everybody had to find their role and dig into it. Individually, I did all of the dirty work so I could achieve what we won at the end of the season. A lot of ups and downs for me, but we pulled off the state championship which is something I wanted before I left Iowa.
PI: What have you been able to show coaches/scouts this summer with MoKan Elite?
OB: MoKan was fun and I’ve learned a lot. It’s a really great program. Our coach is the best coach I’ve had with me ever and he showed me a lot of things about the game. I’m still learning, that’s what I like about MoKan. One thing I learned about them was playing within a structured AAU team, which most teams don’t do. It just allowed me to play smarter.
PI: Do you feel like you’ve tapped into another level of IQ with them?
OB: Yeah, for sure. I feel like getting to the age where I am right now, I’m starting to watch film on a lot of guys I like watching. Watching defenses a lot, too, to know how to attack them and how they react. Just watching basketball, really.
PI: You recently joined Link Academy — what led to that decision?
OB: Ultimately just the comfort level with the program and trust between the people around me in my circle. That’s really all.
PI: How excited are you to get to campus?
OB: Man I’m really excited! I can’t wait to get started with my guys. We’ve got a lot to show this year. We’ve got a lot to prove to doubters and other scouts. It’s going to come together really well and I just can’t wait.
PI: What’s the update with your recruitment?
OB: I would say the same teams. Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma State...just went on an unofficial visit there earlier...Nebraska, Iowa, Oregon, Arkansas, Kansas, etc. I would say those right now.
PI: You’ve taken a few official visits (Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas) — any others planned?
OB: So I previously took a visit to Nebraska, but I have an upcoming official visit to Nebraska October 1-3rd. I’ll take an official to Iowa State around September 29th, as well.
PI: What are you looking for in your program of choice?
OB: Just the same thing — trust and a comfort level. I obviously want development — just me getting better and continually getting better every day. Somewhere where coaches are pushing me. I would also say just the culture — embrace me for who I am and take me to new paths with my career. That’s really what I’m looking into with college.
PI: Would you consider pro or overseas options?
OB: Oh yeah, I always do because at the end of the day that’s where I’ve always wanted to go. At the end of the day I want to be a pro, and at the same time I take my process slowly and I don’t like rushing my decisions. If the time comes where I feel ready to go pro then I’ll go pro, but right now my path is the college route...the normal traditional route.
PI: With Overtime Elite, a lot of players are bypassing their senior year to go pro.
OB: I mean it’s good for their situation and I respect it the way that things are going, but I don’t feel right about the pro route right now. I’m just focused on school and development.
PI: What’s your biggest passion outside of basketball?
OB: I just like hanging out with my guys. I’m a big family guy, I just like to play video games and do things that excite me like going to the pool and just playing basketball with people. Nothing too much, just chill.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
OB: Sensational. Just one word, #sensational [laughs]. Because you can’t describe it — it’s sensational, man.