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I can't envision myself writing Jesusemilore Talodabijesu Ojeleye too often. Takes too much time and concentration. That is Semi Ojeleye's given name, and we thank his parents for their gift to the Celtics and also for the shortened version of his name.

According to The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy the name means Jesus' gift to me. The family came to the United States from Nigeria so that Semi's dad, Ernest, could practice medicine in this country

The Ojeleye family went through many hardships before things came together, and Murphy's story is well worth reading. Semi eventually ended up at Duke University under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Ojeleye only stayed at Duke for one-and-one-half years, leaving for SMU because he strongly felt that he could make headway there and have a better shot at the NBA. Coach K's response to Semi leaving Duke didn't elevate him as a person in my view, and the Ojeleyes may feel the same.

So Semi left Duke and headed to SMU under Coach Larry Brown. He thrived under Brown and entered the 2017 NBA draft projected initially at #20 by DraftExpress. He miraculously fell to the Celtics at #37. That never should have happened with a player with the size and skills of Ojeleye.


One of my first articles for CelticsLife was Semi Ojeleye - a gem found in the second round? Well, we can get rid of the question mark at the end of the title. I looked at many videos, including the one in the early article, and he is a shooter.

Larry brown was vital in Ojeleye's development, and Brad Stevens has taken over that pleasant task. Here is The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy on Semi and the two coaches:

Brown was vital in the process that has made her son a Celtic.

“If he Brown) never believed in Semi, Semi never would have gone to SMU, and if Semi doesn’t go to SMU, he wouldn’t have been able to play the way Larry Brown wants his players to play,” she said. “How would Danny Ainge have seen him? It started with Larry Brown, and giving him the opportunity, just as Brad Stevens is doing now.

“Every day I pray for Brad Stevens now, just like I pray for Larry Brown, who saw the talent where nobody saw it.”

We have to understand that he is a rookie and still uncertain as to what he can and cannot do on the court. He is an elite defender and will become a true 3-and-D guy in the NBA. Jesus' gift to Joy and Ernest Ojeleye transformed into a gift to the Celtics and a gem found in the second round of the draft.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo courtesy of the Ojeleye family


Tom Lane 5/02/2018 01:30:00 PM Edit
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