Duke adds to strength

A pledge from Semi Ojeleye gives Duke the versatility at the forward spot that coaches simply dream of.

When it comes to the forward position the Duke Blue Devils simply keep adding pieces and making things happen on the recruiting trail. They closed out the 2012 class with a pledge from Amile Jefferson, added a big time transfer in Rodney Hood, and now Duke has struck gold again with five-star Semi Ojeleye.

Ojeleye vaulted into the five-star ranks following a very impressive summer with Mo-Kan Elite. The 6-foot-6 forward proved once and for all he is a small forward who can also play some power forward, and not a power forward trying to be a small forward.

His athleticism, improved perimeter shot, and ability to attack off the dribble all were impressive, and Ojeleye proved it on the biggest stage against some of the best. Now he will have one of the brightest spotlights in college basketball to continue his improvement.

Ojeleye made the decision to pick the Blue Devils following an in-home visit with Duke boss Mike Krzyzewski. What this now does is give Duke some more insurance at the wing position without making things too crowded.

The addition of Hood was huge for Duke, and it greatly solidified the small forward position, but Ojeleye could be even more important. After a very impressive freshman season at Mississippi State and a year to work with the staff at Duke while sitting out, who knows how long Hood's stay will be in Durham.

That did leave a potential question mark at the position with a lot of hopes pinned on landing the No. 1 overall prospect Jabari Parker. However now with Ojeleye in the fold, there is less pressure on the Duke staff to land Parker.

Ojeleye is good enough to step in from day one and make an impact. He likely wouldn't start over Hood, but he would give great athleticism and intelligence at the power forward or small forward positions, and is the type of kid and teammate that others seem to really like to have on their side.

With Ojeleye in the fold, Kryzyewski has someone who can do a lot of things that Kyle Singler did. That isn't to say Ojeleye is Singler, but he can give the Blue Devils a lot of that same lineup flexibility. What made Singler so unique for Duke is he allowed the Blue Devils to use a variety of different lineups to help exploit the personnel of other teams.

Look for Ojeleye to do many of those same things. He is strong enough that he can rebound and defend against taller players from the power forward spot, yet skilled enough to be someone who plays on the perimeter against teams that feature bigger backcourts.

Overall with players like Jefferson, Ojeleye, Hood, and Matt Jones, Duke now has a lot of very talented options that can complement each other nicely and make for some very interesting personnel combinations that will make the Blue Devils hard to guard. All of that, and the roster still sets up to have room for Parker if indeed Duke can find a way to reel him in.


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