Ojeleye Breaks Down Transfer Process

In a Scout.com exclusive, former five-star forward and Duke sophomore Semi Ojeleye explains his decision to transfer, his timeline and what he's looking for at his next college.

Semi Ojeleye didn’t want to leave Duke.

The former 2012-13 Parade Magazine National Player of the Year, Ojeleye loved his teammates, head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the chance to play at school nuts about basketball.

But with Amile Jefferson and Justise Winslow emerging at Ojeleye’s position, the 6-8, 230-pound sophomore wasn’t getting many minutes and could see the writing on the wall.

“It was a tough decision because you get used to a lot of guys, build a lot of relationships with people and then decide you have to move on,” Ojeleye told Scout.com. “That was difficult but I just felt at this point I needed to go somewhere where I’d have a better opportunity to play and have a better career overall.”

Early indications are Ojeleye will have plenty of places of pick from. Less than 24 hours after announcing his decision, Ojeleye – a former five-star recruit by Scout.com – said he’s had a lot of schools contact his family, high school coach or AAU coach to gauge his interest.

Having finished his semester at Duke Saturday, Ojeleye is back in his hometown of Ottawa, Kansas. He said he plans to take a couple days to decompress before evaluating his list of offers and set up official and in-home visits.

“The list is decently long,” said Ojeleye. “I’ll probably take three or four visits and schools can come in home, too. That will save me some time and some traveling.”

Coming out of Ottawa Senior high school, Ojeleye picked the Blue Devils out of a final list that included Indiana, Oregon and Stanford. He also considered Arizona, Illinois, UCLA and Wisconsin, among others. Kansas didn’t offer a scholarship out of high school, but Ojeleye said the Jayhawks have been in contact.

Having no transfer restrictions, Ojeleye hopes to make his decision by the start of next semester.

“Obviously I want to play, but I want to go where I have a chance to learn and a chance to go to the NCAA tournament,” said Ojeleye. “If they have a good coaching staff, a good locker room and my family is all on the same page, that school has a good chance with me going there.”

Another school Ojeleye said reached out was Wisconsin, who gave him his first power-five scholarship offer in June 2011. Having visited the campus during the recruiting process, Ojeleye got another look at Wisconsin when the Blue Devils played in Madison Dec.3. Ojeleye did not play in the 80-70 Duke victory, but found himself impressed by the raucous environment between two top-four teams.

“It was another example of what you work hard for and what you want to be a part of,” said Ojeleye. “Being able to see what Wisconsin is about, see what kind of support they have and what kind of atmosphere they create gives them a good chance. I think schools like that would be a joy to play for. They are definitely an interest to me after seeing that kind of crowd and atmosphere when we were there.”

Having won Duke’s offseason strength testing completion each of the last two seasons, Ojeleye appeared in six of the Blue Devils’ eight games this season, averaging 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.5 minutes per game. He has 1.5 years of eligibility remaining.

“I am going to try to take some time, clear my head and make the best decision here in the next couple of weeks,” said Ojeleye. “I’ve gone through the recruiting process and know the questions coaches ask. I’ve been in college. It’s not so much where I’ll be staying. It’s all about the basketball. I don’t know have stress not knowing what I’ll be getting into. It’s all about finding what’s best.”


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