Semi Ojeleye finds his way onto the court thanks to his defense

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Semi Ojeleye finds his way onto the court thanks to his defense

Post by bobheckler on Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:00 pm

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/sports/20171204/celtics-notebook-semi-ojeleye-finds-his-way-onto-court-thanks-to-his-defense?rssfeed=true




Celtics Notebook: Semi Ojeleye finds his way onto the court thanks to his defense








Celtics rookie Semi Ojeleye has found himself earning valuable minutes, against players such as LeBron James, thanks to his stout defense so far this season. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak]





By Scott Souza 
ssouza@wickedlocal.com




Posted Dec 4, 2017 at 9:11 PMUpdated Dec 4, 2017 at 9:11 PM
   [url=https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=http%3A%2F%2Fmetrowestdailynews.com%2Fsports%2F20171204%2Fceltics-notebook-semi-ojeleye-finds-his-way-onto-court-thanks-to-his-defense&title=Celtics Notebook%3A Semi Ojeleye finds his way onto the court thanks to his defense][/url]






Semi Ojeleye entered Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks averaging 13.8 minutes a game for a team that began the night at 20-4.






BOSTON — He was born Jesusemilore Talodabijesu Ojeleye.


He said he’s gone by Semi Ojeleye, for short, ever since the name tag-friendly nickname stuck in kindergarten.


It’s a name many casual basketball fans might not have known when the Celtics selected him out of Southern Methodist University in this past June’s NBA draft. But many who did know of him thought that night the Celtics might have just gotten a steal.


At least on one end of the court, that has appeared to be the case in his rookie season as Ojeleye entered Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks averaging 13.8 minutes a game for a team that began the night at 20-4.


“I think he can be elite defensively,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the game. “I’m not sure he’s far from it now. He’s able to guard one through five [positions]. He guarded [Phoenix Suns star scorer Devin] Booker for a couple of possessions [Saturday] and I was kicking myself for not trying it earlier.


“He just has a great base strength, and lateral athleticism that, I think, is unique.”


Ojeleye came to the Celtics as a potential draft-night sleeper in the second round with a game that appeared to have potential down the line in the “3-and-D” world of the new NBA role player. But while the “3″ part hasn’t been there early in his career on most nights, his “D” has earned him significant minutes almost each game.


“It’s just a daily thing,” Ojeleye said of the defensive work. “You’re going up against guys like Giannis [Antetokounmpo]LeBron [James], those guys, so obviously you have to be sharp every night. It’s not going to be great every night. Coaches give me a great deal of confidence [as well as] my teammates.”


He played in 23 of the 24 games entering Monday night and played double-digit minutes in 16 of them as the coach’s defensive Swiss Army knife off the bench.

“I just take the weight room seriously, working on the right things — mobility, strength — that helps with speed and agility,” he said. “Then it’s watching film. Watching guys’ tendencies. Watching moves so you are not surprised by a whole lot. Seems like guys are coming up with new things every single day, so you try to be instinctual.”


The powerful frame of Ojeleye helps him make up for what he is lacking in height against a 7-footer like Antetokounmpo, in strength.


“Try to stay low,” he said. “Try to keep people from getting angles to the basket. Try to make them shoot over me. Obviously, sometimes guys are going to hit those shots. I just try to make them uncomfortable.”

One thing that has yet to come around for Ojeleye is his shooting. He shot the 3-pointer at 42.9 percent at SMU last year, but was shooting just 33.9 percent overall — 31.9 percent on 3-pointers — entering Monday. Forty-seven of the 59 shots he had attempted were from behind the 3-point line.


That hasn’t stopped Stevens from going to him, however, or his teammates for looking in his direction.


“He’s a very capable 3-point shooter,” Stevens said. “He’s a guy who you have to guard out there. So he’s going to draw attention.”


Ojeleye had knocked down just seven of his previous 32 shots (21.8 percent) heading into Saturday’s game against the Suns when he drilled two 3-pointers in the second half as Boston extended its lead to as many as 17.

“Especially when it’s older guys making that extra pass,” he said, “it gives you a great deal of confidence in yourself. I appreciate that. I’m going to keep trying to keep working to improve my shooting.”




Baynes in the center


For the third straight game on Monday, Stevens went with Aron Baynes as the starting center.
While the coach said he will continue to switch up the lineup based on matchups, the move gives the second unit the veteran scoring presence of Marcus Morris, while the starters get a big man who has rated out as one of the best defenders in the league early this season.


“The one question that I would have asked is: How good is he laterally?” Stevens said of Baynes’s defense prior to Boston signing him as a free agent in July. “Because that’s always the question you ask with guys his size.


“Everybody who had coached him in the past, and had been around him in the past, talked glowingly about his ability to move side to side. I would second that [now].”



bob
MY NOTE:  Semi had one of the fastest agility drill scores and one of the fastest sprint scores at the NBA Combine.  He's 6'7" 240#, and he was one of the most agile and fastest players at the Combine.  Let that sink in for a second... 


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Re: Semi Ojeleye finds his way onto the court thanks to his defense

Post by dboss on Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:59 pm

He can d-up but his O sucks.  Very inconsistent given the open looks and challenged dribbling the basketball.

I still like him but he has a lot of work to put in.

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