What does Miles Byrd bring to SDSU?

San Diego State got a commitment from Miles Byrd on October 2nd. Byrd is listed is a 6’6″, 165 lbs. shooting guard out of Stockton California. According to the 247 sports composite ranking service, Byrd is a 3-star prospect, and the 159th best high school senior in the country. 247’s internal rankings have Byrd much higher, as a 4-star prospect and the 89th best high school senior in the country. Byrd chose SDSU over Washington, Minnesota, Colorado State, and others.

The Aztecs got a good one in Byrd. Despite being listed at 6’6″ officially, he may be closer to 6’7″, and appears to have an even longer wingspan. He also has a large bag of skills despite being only 17 years old. He can handle the ball, score all over the court, defend multiple positions, and rebounds well. His versatility will make him very valuable to the Aztecs during his time on the Mesa.

What does Byrd bring defensively –

Like many tall kids in high school, Byrd would often play a rim protecting role for his high school team. Standing at 6’6″ with a plus wingspan made it hard for other players to score. That placement in the defensive scheme can often hinder a players defensive development though, as he won’t be playing as a center in college. Luckily, Byrd’s high school ran a lot of switches and help defense, so Byrd would often find himself on the perimeter.

His defensive IQ looks good. Byrd knows when to help wall off drives, and when to rotate from the weakside for blocks. HIs length poses problems for other players. His long arms help him get to the ball when other players wouldn’t be able to, allowing Byrd to jump passing lanes for steals, and get blocks when players think they’ve beaten him.

Byrd with the steal and dunk

Defense isn’t just about flashy plays, it’s about positioning and having all five players engaged. Byrd is a player that understands that concept. He is always where he is supposed to be defensively in the half court, and can defend players one-on-one, or help his teammates when the situation calls for it.

The biggest weakness Byrd has is his ability to get around screens. His long limbs can make it hard to get through or around tight spaces, and his skinny frame makes it easier to bump him off his track.

Byrd struggles to get around screen

The other issue Byrd has is boxing out. Once again his long limbs make it easier for players to get a lower center of gravity, and Byrd’s skinny frame and general lack of strength make it easy to push him off his spot.

Byrd’s weaknesses defensively all stem from his lack of strength. He is still young and growing into his frame. as he continues to grow some of that should resolve somewhat naturally. Getting into a college weight room can help too. Players like Malik Pope and Jordan Schakel came into the program skinny, but added muscle over the course of their careers. On the flip side, Jalen McDaniels never really added weight during his three years at SDSU. Byrd adding some muscle to his frame would help him out tremendously though.

Despite the skinny frame, Byrd has a lot of defensive skills and attributes that will make him a problem for opposing offenses. He’ll likely be able to guard the one through three spots as a freshman, and will be able to guard bigger players once he adds weight.

What does Byrd bring on offense –

Byrd has a full bag on offense. He is capable of doing just about anything a coach might ask him to do. Shooting is arguably the most important skill a player can have, and Byrd has shown flashes of shooting ability. Watch below as he shakes his defender with a crossover and then hits a step back three.

Filthy shot from Byrd

That is a really tough shot to make. The sample size of Byrd Junior year according to MaxPreps was 6 games. in those six games Byrd shot 40% from the floor. Byrd father put up a highlight video on YouTube that added a couple of games and the three point percentage was 38%. Still a small sample, but it’s encouraging. Hopefully Byrd continues to shoot well as a high school senior with a larger sample size.

Byrd has also shown some ability to finish at the rim. It will be tougher for him with bigger, longer players playing defense. He’ll need to add strength in order to absorb contact better, and there will be a learning curve to finishing over taller players, but the ability is there.

Byrd has also shown the ability to hit pull up jumpers in the midrange. That ability makes Byrd a three level scorer. That being said, Byrd’s scoring ability is still a little raw. He can score from most anywhere, but isn’t an elite scorer from anywhere.

Something Byrd does well, especially for his size and position, is create shots. Byrd can create shots for himself, or he can draw double teams and create shots for others. He can create shots in a variety of situations as well. He has been used in the pick and roll, in the post, and is probably best in isolation.

Watch below as he comes off a screen, notices the defender show to high, snakes the dribble, forces the defensive center to step up, and then passes to the player in the dunker spot who scores.

Byrd also has a number of passes to get the ball to the weakside, whether it be the corner or the wing. He has high confidence in his ability to pass the ball, and seems to take pride in getting his teammates involved.

He can lose control of his dribble sometimes, occasionally resulting in turnovers. As with on defense, adding strength and muscle to his frame would benefit him greatly. He has a great foundation from which to grow though.

Summary-

Despite his high level of skill, especially for such a young player, Byrd is a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. He’s a good enough shooter to take threes, but hasn’t shown to be consistent yet. He can pass the ball, but is helped a lot by being taller than everyone else. He can handle the ball, but gets loose with it sometimes and loses control. These are all skills that can be improved. By all accounts Byrd has a great work ethic, and has shown an above average basketball IQ. Having a dad who is a former D1 basketball coach definitely helps. Most importantly, he looks like a team player. He is more than willing to pass up a good shot for a better shot, and celebrates his teammates’ successes.

His largest weakness at this point is just his size. He is really skinny and weighs only 165 lbs. despite standing at 6’6″. Aguek Arop is 6’6″ with long arms but weighs 220 lbs. Granted, Arop isn’t 17 anymore, but the point still stands. Adding strength and muscle should be a high priority in order to prevent injuries, play more versatile defense, and be able to absorb contact better. It needs to be done safely, Byrd shouldn’t add 50 lbs. in a year, but adding weight and strength will help a lot.

Coach Dutcher loves players who are versatile and can fill multiple roles. Miles Byrd can defend multiple positions, and play multiple roles on offense. He fits what coach Dutcher looks for extremely well, and as his skills develop and his frame fills out, expect Byrd to accomplish great things at SDSU.

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