About Semi Ojeleye
Ojeleye was part of a terrific three-man recruiting class at Duke that included Jabari Parker and Matt Jones. But unlike the other two, Ojeleye could never totally adjust to the rigors of going to class and playing high-level basketball, and ultimately decided a change of scenery would be in his best interests. He left Duke for SMU at the semester break of the 2014-15 season and could have played for the Mustangs in the second semester of the 2015-16 season. But he chose the unusual route of redshirting a second consecutive semester so he could preserve a full season as a junior in 2016-17. He used the time on the sidelines wisely, turning himself into a terrific 3-point shooter, among other things, and by time he was finally eligible again, he was hungry to return to live game action. Few if any transfers made a bigger impact this season than Ojeleye.
- Versatile offensive game
- Big-time competitor
- Excellent 3-point shooter
- Gets to the free-throw line
- Solid defender
- Good offensive rebounder
- Undersized for an NBA power forward
- Has room to grow as an elite defender
NBA projection: Ojeleye is generally considered to be a second round pick if he chooses to remain in the draft, but some see him as a sleeper who could elevate his status during workouts and interviews and be taken sooner than that.
Little used in a year and a half at Duke, Ojeleye transferred to SMU, sat out a full calendar year, then became an impact player for the Mustangs, finishing third in the American Athletic Conference in scoring, 11th in rebounding, third in 3-point percentage and ninth in free throw percentage. He was chosen the league’s player of the year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and first-team All-AAC. Most important, Ojeleye helped SMU finish 30-5 and a No. 11 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. The Mustangs won the AAC regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament.
Key statistics: 19.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.4 tpg, 34.1 mpg, .487 FG, .424 3PT, .785 FT
Cool statistic: In one full season at part of another at Duke, Ojeleye scored 46 points combined. In his first season at SMU, he scored 665 points, third all-time in program history.
Reminds me of: Paul Millsap
What Insiders Say
SMU coach Tim Jankovich
“First of all, attitude and character and teammate, intelligence, work ethic. All of the things that you would want and then you throw that with some incredible talent. He's a great athlete, incredibly strong. And then he's practiced his way over the years from high school on to being a very skilled player.”
What Outsiders Say
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie
“He’s explosive. [Because of] his explosiveness, his offensive rebounding, being able to get off his feet very quickly … he’s a mismatch problem. Because he’s really a 3, and they play him more at the 4.”
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