SMU’s Semi Ojeleye staying in 2017 NBA draft

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Semi Ojeleye looked like a man among boys as a 22-year-old in the American Athletic Conference.

How would the SMU forward handle the NBA?

We’ll find out.


Ojeleye is a borderline first-round pick. He dominated his competition last year, but he spent two nondescript seasons at Duke then transferred to SMU. He’s far from a lock to translate to the NBA.

Mostly a face-up power forward, Ojeleye has ideal strength for a forward. But he’s just 6-foot-7, and that’ll cause problems. With a solid jumper and ball-handling ability, he might offset those disadvantages. But his range might not yet extend beyond the NBA 3-point arc, and he’s not a very creative driver. Another big question: Will he raise his defensive intensity when not the primary offensive option – and with his height, how much will that matter?

There’s probably nothing more Ojeleye could prove in the AAC, so turning pro makes sense. But he’ll have numerous questions to answer in the NBA – though also a chance to do so successfully.