Duke picked up its second pledge of the recruiting class of 2013 Sunday night when five-star small forward Semi Ojeleye committed to the Blue Devils following his in-home visit with head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski. The Ottawa, Kans. product is considered one of the top wings in the class due to his imposing strength, solid athleticism and versatile offensive skill set to go along with his ideal size at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. The Chronicle’s Brady Buck spoke with Ojeleye to discuss his commitment to Duke.
The Chronicle: Can you walk us through your in-home visit with Krzyzewski on Sunday night and how your commitment unfolded?
Semi Ojeleye: [The Duke coaches] came over. It was me, my whole family, with my AAU coach there along with Coach K and Coach Wojo. We ate dinner and started talking about what plans they had for me and how they see me fitting into the program. We were able to ask questions and if anyone had any concerns about anything, they answered those. We talked for a little bit and then they showed us some video of some past players and former [Duke] players as well as the USA [National] team and how they won the Gold Medal. And I just decided that [Duke] was the school for me.
TC: What was Krzyzewski’s reaction to your commitment?
SO: He was very, very excited. I don’t think I’ve seen him quite like that ever, at least up close.
TC: What was it about Duke that made it the perfect fit for you and prompted you to commit?
*SO: Their high academic standards, their basketball history and playing for Coach K. I think those three things along with the fact that it felt right in my heart made it the school that I wanted to go to.
TC: How does it feel to officially be a Blue Devil?
SO: I can’t describe it. It’s a big blessing.
TC: Is it a big relief for you to have the recruitment process over and out of the way, so you can invest all of your time and effort into basketball the rest of your senior year?
SO: Yeah, that’s really nice. The phone calls are kind of getting a little bit hectic. [The media attention] was a blessing throughout the whole [recruiting] process, but I’m glad to finally get it over with.
TC: How exactly does the Duke coaching staff see you fitting into the program?
SO: Being able to play multiple positions—the 2-4 depending on what the matchups, the lineups and the game situations are. And [the coaches see me] being able to do whatever they need me to do on the court, whether that is defending, rebounding [or] being versatile to help the team out.
TC: What aspects of your game will you specifically be working on during your high school season as you prepare for the next level?
SO: Everything. Every part of my game is important to me, especially being consistent mentally and being aggressive. Shooting, ball handling, it all comes into play.
TC: As I’m sure you are well aware of, Duke is in the mix for Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, who are two of the top players in the class. Landing one of the two could make Duke a favorite to win the 2013-14 national championship. What is your relationship like with Parker and Randle?
SO: I don’t really have a personal relationship with them. You see them play. You see them at camps. You kind of see them from a distance, but you don’t really know them up close. From what I hear about those guys, they are good guys. And they’d be great teammates from what I hear.
TC: And will you take it upon yourself now to help recruit other players, like Randle and Parker, to Duke?
SO: [The Duke coaches] said since I committed that now they can tell other players that I will be there, so depending on [other recruits’] feelings about me that can be a plus or a minus. But I can’t really help them recruit directly. Everyone has their own wants and needs, so they are going to go wherever they want to go.
TC: Do have any plans lined up to take an official visit to Duke in the near future?
SO: Yeah, I will definitely take an official visit. We are just working on the details, the schedule and things like that right now.