Beantown Background: Semi Ojeleye

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The next installment of Beantown Background, as well as the Boston Celtics second draft pick, is Jesusemilore Talodabijesu “Semi” Ojeleye.  (Good thing he has a nickname…)

The 6-foot-6, 241-pound Ojeleye (Oh-juh-lay) attended Ottawa High School in Ottawa, Kansas.  Ojeleye had an incredible high school career.  As a four-year starter, he helped the team to four consecutive Kansas 4A State Championships.  He also owns the Kansas state high school records for career scoring (2,763 points), as well as senior-year scoring (952 points). During that last year of eligibility, Ojeleye averaged 38.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals while helping Ottawa to a 25-0 season and a state championship. He was named Parade Magazine National Player of the Year and Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year for that season.

Unfortunately, Ojeleye’s college career did not have the immediate impact that would be warranted by such a decorated high school career.  Ojeleye played sparingly in only 17 games during his freshman season at Duke, and he played in six games during his sophomore year before transferring to SMU at the semester.  

During his one season at SMU, though, Ojeleye had much more success.  He averaged 19 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.  His season-high in scoring came during the American Athletic Conference Tournament, when he pumped in 36 points to help SMU beat Eastern Carolina.  

Ojeleye was the 37th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, and the Celtics’ second selection.  According to Bleacher Report, Ojeleye could be a strong offensive specialist off the bench for this 2017-2018 Boston squad. He was a 40 percent 3-point shooter during this past college season, and showed the ability to drive to the hoop.  

There is no way to know exactly how Ojeleye’s career will go, but after his transfer and big season at SMU, things are looking up for this young Celtic.

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