Detroit — The Pistons didn’t waste any time using their open roster spot that was created by waiving veteran center Nerlens Noel on Tuesday.
The team announced the signing of Eugene Omoruyi to a 10-day contract on Friday, a move that gives them more depth at the forward position.
Omoruyi, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward, averaged 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 23 games this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was more productive during his 13 games with the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, averaging 17.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals.
Omoruyi, 26, is a native of Orangeville, Ont. who began the first three seasons of his college career at Rutgers before transferring to Oregon for his final season. As a senior, he earned All-Pac-12 First-Team honors and helped lead the Ducks advance to the Sweet 16 round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. He totaled 9.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 121 career games.
“He’s a young man who tries to do what’s right,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “He does everything with force. It’s hard to evaluate him in an hour and a half, but we’ll see. I’ve watched video of him on tape. He plays hard. He’s strong as an ox. We’ll see.”
Omoruyi started playing basketball in the 10th grade, after previously competing in soccer. His high school teammates at Orangeville Prep (Ontario) included Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray and former Pistons center Thon Maker.
Omoruyi wasn’t picked in the 2021 NBA Draft but signed a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks, who waived him in the middle of last season. He inked another two-way deal with the Thunder, which was converted into a regular contract on Feb. 10. However, Oklahoma City waived him on Sunday to create a roster spot.
Omoruyi’s 10-day deal will give him opportunities to play in five games for the Pistons, who will travel to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday before returning to Detroit for a five-game homestand. The Pistons will host the Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers next week by the time Omoruyi’s 10-day contract expires on March 12.
The Pistons recently used a 10-day contract to sign Motor City Cruise forward Stanley Umude, who scored a career-high 35 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday’s win over the Grand Rapids Gold.
Omoruyi will wear the No. 97 for the Pistons, which has never been used by any player in franchise history.
Pistons at Cavaliers
Tipoff: 7:30 Saturday, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland
Outlook: The Pistons (15-48) will look to snap a six-game losing streak at Cleveland (39-26) on Saturday in what will be the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. The Cavaliers are 3-0 against the Pistons this season and 9-3 overall in their last 11 matchups against Detroit since 2020.