Q & A: 2013 wing Semi Ojeleye talks Indiana

  • 05/02/2012 9:13 am in

After a pair of strong performances in the first two Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) sessions of the spring, 2013 Ottawa (KS) forward Semi Ojeleye is receiving significant interest from Indiana.

Both Tom Crean and Steve McClain watched Ojeleye over the weekend at EYBL Hampton as the 6-foot-6 member of Mokan Elite averaged 17.8 points and 5.2 rebounds over five games.

Inside the Hall caught up with Ojeleye, the No. 39 player in his class according to ESPN.com, to get his thoughts on the recent interest from Indiana, his plans for the summer, a timetable for a decision and more:

On the schools looking hardest at him:

“Indiana’s up there. UCLA, Wisconsin, Arizona. I got a couple calls today from Kansas and Louisville, so it’s sort of shifting around as we speak.”

On when he started looking at Indiana:

“I think it was about three weeks ago. They called and then we have just been going back and forth to get to know one another.”

On what about IU interests him:

“It’s a great program. They’ve had some great success these past couple of years and had some big wins. Players that go there seem to be successful, so it’s a good program and maybe a good place to play college basketball.”

On who he’s talked to from IU:

“I actually was supposed to call Coach Crean right now. I just got his number from Coach McClain. I talk to Coach McClain probably once every two weeks at least.”

On his game:

“I can spread the floor with my shooting, so that makes people come out and get me. With my size I can go by people that close out too hard. I can post up small guards. Whatever the coach needs me to do, I’ll do.”

On what Crean has told him:

“He said me he wants a guy who can really shoot it and is not afraid to take and make big shots. He wants a guy who can go and be an impact on that program. He thinks I’m the right guy and I think I’m the right guy, so this could be something that could maybe work out.”

On what he wants to improve on these next few months:

“I really want to improve my mid-range game: pull ups, going inside, being more comfortable going left. Not just shooting threes, but that 10 to 15 foot jump shot.”

On his summer schedule:

“We’ll be going to Dallas in two weeks and then our last EYBL will be in San Francisco. If we make it to Peach Jam, hopefully, we’ll be in Georgia later in the summer.”

On a potential visit to Bloomington:

“I was hoping to get out there in June. That’s probably the most downtime I’m going to have coming up.”

On whether he has a timetable for a decision:

“Not really. In the late winter, I was thinking maybe before high school basketball started. But with new schools coming along, I don’t want to rush into anything too quickly.”

Here’s a look at Ojeleye’s highlights from his junior season at Ottawa:

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  • Npantella

    Lance Stephenson….Mr. Born ready?

  • N71

    Dude is put together, his arms are bigger than my first girlfriend’s legs (wasn’t proud of that one).  I imagine Semi is going to get a ton of attention and will have the choice to go wherever he wants unless there’s some problem that’s not obvious at the moment.  How many recruits will we have in our 2013 class?

  • hoosier_kamp

    I really like this kids game… has great size and can really attack the basket.  Crean is really pushing hard for this 2013 class…. despite not having a lot spots available…. will be interesting to see who ends up getting offers and how the scholarships shake out

  • hoosier_kamp

    I really like this kids game… has great size and can really attack the basket.  Crean is really pushing hard for this 2013 class…. despite not having a lot spots available…. will be interesting to see who ends up getting offers and how the scholarships shake out

  • Bloyd

    Really like what I see out of this kid. Big strong kid that doesn’t look like he is affraid of contact. Can play inside and out, and finishes strong. Would be great to see him come in and back up Will and Vic at the 3 spot. Impressive!

  • I don’t understand how we could possibly have sign more than 1, maybe 2 more players to this class.  But it looks like Crean is going after this class pretty hard, so I trust him.  Regardless, all the players he is pursuing look like players I would love to have on the team.  Love seeing all the recruits comment on how hard Indiana is recruiting them… shows how hard our coaching staff works.  Semi looks like a beast, a mix between Victor and Mbakwe. Go get em’ coaches!

  • Hearing five total in 2013 class.

  • jacobdetroy

    What a difference one good year can make, it apparently makes a 12 win year a success:

    “They’ve had some great success these past couple of years”

    Keep winning and they will keep coming.

  • jacobdetroy

    What a difference one good year can make, it apparently makes a 12 win year a success:

    “They’ve had some great success these past couple of years”

    Keep winning and they will keep coming.

  • Mr_Howard8h

    I love how Crean’s takin’ this national.  He’s always had the confidence to represent Indiana to recruits from out of state, now he’s got the #1 team in America as extra ammunition.  Go get ’em coach.

  • choochgas

    Love players who can score AFTER contact.

  • SirEric

    Wow! Didn’t even realize this kid was in the cards. He is a great talent. I totally support us going out to get this guy. He dunks like Victor and shoots the ball very well. How could we not want him?

  • N71

    I know this is not an exact science but if you tried to project the class what would it be?  Based on what’s being posted, recent hires, etc. my guess would be:

    1. Hartman – beautiful shooter, 2-3
    2. Davis – banger/defender 3-4
    3. Fischer – true center
    4. BeeJay – banger/defender 4-5
    5. Monte Morris? – 1-2 combo guard

    If Cody and Victor leave to the NBA we’re somewhat covered.

  • Keep_it_in_Indiana

    He is built like a house. 

    Not incredibly quick off of the bounce but has a great all-around game.  

    Appears to be a solid kid as well.  Not sure he fits a need given our depth at the 2 and 3 spot , but I like him a lot.

  • Keep_it_in_Indiana

    He is built like a house. 

    Not incredibly quick off of the bounce but has a great all-around game.  

    Appears to be a solid kid as well.  Not sure he fits a need given our depth at the 2 and 3 spot , but I like him a lot.

  • HoosierExile

    I’d like to see film of him playing in AAU. He’s from Ottawa, KS, a podunk town about 30 minutes south of Lawrence, where yours truly resides, anxiously awaiting a move away. If you noticed, the teams he was playing weren’t the most diverse, or athletic kids. I’d like to see him attack the rim against a 6’10” 230-50 lb center, or have someone his size guarding him. He’s a man among boys in rural, small town Kansas, and probably the state as a whole, which produces only a few D-1 players every year. If you look at the Jayhawks roster, there’s a reason all the players are from out of state. Not saying he’s bad or I’m not impressed. He’s no. 39 most likely because of AAU, so I’d be interested to him play good competition.

    Although I wish I would have heard of him sooner, so I could go watch him play.

  • TJB

    I think what he was referring to when he mentions the success is last year and the year when we had Eric Gordon and DJ White (just speculation, though). But serious, winning makes people forget about those bad years we just had! It seems to be a complete afterthought as of now.

  • Hardwood83

     I would be very pleased with that class. And I know it’s important to everyone that I am pleased.

    It’s hard to keep up with the 2013 class- we have all the guys we’ve been talking about and now suddenly McKay, Lee, Robinson, Morris and now Ojeleye. Wow.

    Seemed that most were skeptical of Anya coming to IU until the Johnson hire.

  • TJB

    I think we can all see the kid is a stud, but what I love about him is after each play he doesn’t beat his chest like he is God’s gift to mankind. He gets back to the other end of the floor and gets ready for the next possession. Having that kind of even-keeled manner shows an amazing amount of maturity for a high school kid who probably has people drooling over him where ever he goes. The ability to control your ego goes a long way in determining how a team will mesh together, and it looks like Semi would have no trouble at all fitting in with any of the current or future Hoosiers.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Geesh.  Why not bring in 5 for 2013?  Apparently CTC and his staff know what the numbers will look like in 2013-14 season.
     
    If we bring in 5, we are at 15; Mo on a red-shirt will be 16.

    A lot will have to happen.  I still feel there is a NCAA eligibility issue with someone in the 2012 class.

    CZ leaves after So season?  Mo doesn’t come back?  VO bolts for the NBA?  Someone will transfer due to lack of PT.

    Time will tell.

    I do feel that CTC has done a great job in recruiting.  However, this 2013 class has been his weakest thus far.  I am not sold on Hartman.  Just because he is from Indiana doesn’t mean he is a great fit.  He has gone from a top 10 prospect to out of the top 100 falling faster than a sky diver without a chute.

    I see more in Davis because of athleticism.

    Looks like Fischer got dominated by smaller players last weekend.

    Landing a couple top 50 players in thei class would be huge.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Geesh.  Why not bring in 5 for 2013?  Apparently CTC and his staff know what the numbers will look like in 2013-14 season.
     
    If we bring in 5, we are at 15; Mo on a red-shirt will be 16.

    A lot will have to happen.  I still feel there is a NCAA eligibility issue with someone in the 2012 class.

    CZ leaves after So season?  Mo doesn’t come back?  VO bolts for the NBA?  Someone will transfer due to lack of PT.

    Time will tell.

    I do feel that CTC has done a great job in recruiting.  However, this 2013 class has been his weakest thus far.  I am not sold on Hartman.  Just because he is from Indiana doesn’t mean he is a great fit.  He has gone from a top 10 prospect to out of the top 100 falling faster than a sky diver without a chute.

    I see more in Davis because of athleticism.

    Looks like Fischer got dominated by smaller players last weekend.

    Landing a couple top 50 players in thei class would be huge.

  • Geoff

    By the time this guy gets here Vic will not be the 3. He will only spend time at the 3 next year when Hulls and Yogi are on the floor at the same time or if Creek is a factor. starting in 2013-14 he will either be in the NBA of moved to the 2 spot full time. Hollowell, Sheehey, Davis, Hartman, and Austin will be the 3’s he’s competing with.

  • Miamihoosier

    I just figured out why we need so many players in the 2013 class….. We are going to go 41-0 next year, avg 100 ppg, and we are going to lose VO, CZ, Yogi, Hulls, CW, and DE.  We will need to sign 5 to have 13 on scholarship.       Say its Morris and Anya to round out the 5.       Then in 2013, we start Morris, Sheehey, Hollowell, Perrea, and Anya (still leaving a second unit of Abell, Patterson, Davis, Fisher, and Jurkin……with Hartman and AE for mop up minutes/insurance)             Still a Big Ten Title caliber team…..wow  (if Creek applies for extra year, that’s another potential starter, if not maybe we hold a scholly over for the 2014 class)

  • Joe B

    Solid player, but as countless others have questioned, I’m really curious to see how this scholarship situation works out.  As things stand, we are locked up through the ’14 class.  But, we can assume Cody will leave 1 or 2 years early(maybe), freeing up one spot.  However, Crean seems to have interest in several ’13 and ’14 recruits.   I trust the man, but I’m just anxious to see how things work out.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I am not going to disagree with you on Hartman. I have seen him play in-person a few different times and he looks the part but doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on the floor when I have seen him. However, I will disagree with your statement on Fischer. He wasn’t dominated by smaller players. Not even close really.

    He had 22 points and 10 blocks in one game. 17 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks in the title game. That’s not getting dominated.

  • SCHoosier

    Lot of people are sending VO off to the pros after his junior year..lot of talent there..but he will have to play shooting guard in the pro’s..and he doesn’t handle the ball or have the jumper yet to justify that move…unless there is tremendous improvement this coming season..which I hope there is!

  • SCHoosier

    Agree with you..big body..has a killer cross over for a kid his size…and apparently can nail the three. Wants a mid-range shot..excellent. Looks worth the effort to me.

  • SCHoosier

    I think Creans finds himself in an unexpected place re: IU’s success last year and the doors that success has opened to previously” not interested in IU”talent. I sure he has a few offers out there he wished he had kept in his pocket…but he’ll work thru this issue over the next couple of years. TC is on record has liking to be “over-signed…looks like he will be.

  • SCHoosier

    I think Creans finds himself in an unexpected place re: IU’s success last year and the doors that success has opened to previously” not interested in IU”talent. I sure he has a few offers out there he wished he had kept in his pocket…but he’ll work thru this issue over the next couple of years. TC is on record has liking to be “over-signed…looks like he will be.

  • NaplesHoosier

    Miami, I don’t see Victor, Cody or Yogi going pro after next year.  Cody will graduate in three years and then go pro.  Yogi, no way.  Yogi will be a four year guy.  Victor i am sure would love to play with Anya if he comes and anyway i expect that VO would graduate before trying to go pro.  Just my thoughts.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    He was held to 5 points by a 6’6″ guy.  He may have had a bad game and I am very pleased to have him in our group for 2013.

    From all accounts I have heard, Hartman is a top notch kid.  We might have gotten into the sweepstakes a little too early on him though.  I would trade Ojeleye for Hartman any day, or Morris, etc.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    He was held to 5 points by a 6’6″ guy.  He may have had a bad game and I am very pleased to have him in our group for 2013.

    From all accounts I have heard, Hartman is a top notch kid.  We might have gotten into the sweepstakes a little too early on him though.  I would trade Ojeleye for Hartman any day, or Morris, etc.

  • Kokomo_Joe

     The Sunday morning 17s semifinal between the Eric Gordon All-Stars and Wisconsin Swing was one of the better games of the weekend. The Swing jumped out early, held off a couple of runs by EG, and went on to win 70-67. The matchup of Indiana recruits Luke Fischer, a 6-10 post, and Devin Davis, a 6-6 forward from Warren Central, never really materialized. Fischer scored four points and was really taken out of his game by Darius Latham, a 6-6 forward who is also one of the top defensive linemen prospects in the country.

  • I think Cody and Victor could certainly leave early depending on what kind of year IU has and what kind of years they have individually.

  • Dkarell

    You know he has no idea about Indiana when he says

     “It’s a great program. They’ve had some great success these past couple
    of years and had some big wins. Players that go there seem to be
    successful, so it’s a good program and maybe a good place to play
    college basketball.”

    Past couple of years? Where you been bro, we were awful in 2010-2011….Glad he knows IU now

  • Naked Samurai

    The double/triple clutch at 2:44?  Wow.  That was great defense and he just outlasted it.

  • Naked Samurai

    The double/triple clutch at 2:44?  Wow.  That was great defense and he just outlasted it.

  • HoosierHawz

    NBA is about potential.  They will see him as an athletic guard that can drive and play defense.   He would of probably been able to be drafted this year in the second.  If he improves his ball handling/control attacking the rim he will be a mid/late first rounder next year.  If he developes a jump shot top 15 easily. 

  • RecruitGuy

    Anya is our recruit to lose, we hired his mentior growing up and his brother just commited to IU to play soccer. I dont see how there is anyway we lose him.

  • plane1972

    I totally agree with SCHoosier above. All this Vic NBA talk is very premature. IF he develops an outside shot, which doesn’t just happen, then he’s got a legit shot at the NBA. Most of the “potential” picks in the NBA are reserved for guys over 6’9″, not 6’4″.

    Vic’s a gym rat and I am very confident he will put in the work to become the best player he can be. Lots of upside, but not a shoo-in for the pros…YET.

  • Shknqk

    Don’t know a lot of details about backgrounds, but there seems to be an over emphasis on African immigrant recruits, which seems to suit us well, whether first or second generation. Could Hoosier values and immigrant values be so similar? Work ethic, family values, education… Good humor…

  • NaplesHoosier

    Alex, do you really think Cody would leave  before he gets his degree?  That would go against his familys history, but hey, anything can happen!  🙂

  • NaplesHoosier

    Alex, do you really think Cody would leave  before he gets his degree?  That would go against his familys history, but hey, anything can happen!  🙂

  • I’m not saying he will, but the situations of Luke and Tyler were completely different. Neither were projected as lottery picks following their freshman season. Some mock drafts have Cody going top 3 next year.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    That’s actually a really good comparison. I agree with this guy ^. mbakwadipo seems to be a good name too.

  • DarkSouth

    If he averaged about 18 a game at the EYBL, he’s a baller.

  • DarkSouth

    If he averaged about 18 a game at the EYBL, he’s a baller.

  • DarkSouth

    Darius Latham is a beast.  Didn’t see the game but a guy built like Latham can be difficult for a guy like Fischer.  He’s a wide body with a low center of gravity.  As a post player, that type of guy always gave me the most problems as he can get under you and dislodge you from the block without fouling. 
     
    Maybe someone who went can clarify, could just have been some guy on his team was on fire so they didn’t need Fischer much?  Or he was double/triple teamed?

  • DarkSouth

    He’s being listed as a mid-2nd rounder on various mock drafts.  At the rate he’s improving, it’s certainly possible to say he moves up another 15 spots or so to the first round range.  Maybe even likely considering some guys have already peaked.  And in that case, he’s a fool not to at least consider leaving early.

  • 323SGrant

    Ojeleye looks like a middle linebacker with basketball skills! Doesn’t KU usually get the top players in their state? I hope Self doesn’t start recruiting Indiana players. To have his teams dominate their conference year after year with a limited amount of home grown talent in impresssive.