Ojeleye, Brown chosen in NBA Draft
SMU has two players selected for first time in 22 years Posted on 06/22/2017 by PonyFans.com
|Boston Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye, Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown (photo by Patrick Kleineberg).
The SMU Mustangs had two players selected in the NBA Draft when the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers spent second-round picks on forward Semi Ojeleye and guard Sterling Brown, respectively. Ojeleye went 37th overall to Boston, nine picks before his teammate was picked by the 76ers, who then traded his rights to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The selections marked the fourth time in program history that SMU has had two players drafted in the same year, and the first time ever that two Mustangs have been tabbed in the first two rounds. (The draft went from seven rounds to two in 1989. From 1974-88, the league’s annual selection party was 10 rounds long.) The last time two Mustangs were selected in the same draft was in 1985, when center John Koncak went in the first round (fifth overall) to the Atlanta Hawks and guard Carl Wright was selected in the fifth round (113th overall) by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The first seed in the Eastern Conference in this season’s playoffs after a season in which they finished the regular season with a 53-29 record, the Celtics are getting one of the best SMU players in recent memory. The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and AAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and an Honorable Mention Associated Press All-America honoree after a season in which he dominated the AAC statistical rankings, Ojeleye led the Mustangs and finished third in the AAC in scoring with an average of 19.0 points per game. He also led the team with 6.9 rebounds per game (11th in the AAC), ranked eighth in the conference with a 48.7 shooting percentage and finished third in the league by connecting on 42.4 percent of his shots from behind the three-point arc. Additional honors included being named AAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America.
In Boston, Ojeleye joins a team with a potent offense; the Celtics’ 105.2 points per game were the eighth-highest scoring average in the NBA last season. More than half of that production — 65.6 points per game, to be exact — came from a talented backcourt led by guards Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart. Ojeleye won’t be asked to take over immediately — the Celtics do have decent talent up front in centers Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk, and forwards Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder, and upgraded with Ojeleye and first-round pick Jayson Tatum — but he should have every chance to force his way into the rotation and should allow head coach Brad Stevens to space out the floor on the offensive end as he should be an upgrade over Brown and Crowder when it comes to long-range shooting.
The über-athletic Bucks went 42-40 in the regular season to tie the Indiana Pacers’ record and claim the Eastern Conference’s sixth seed heading into the playoffs. In Brown they are adding a second-team All-AAC selection and a member of the AAC All-Tournament team who averaged 13.4 points per game (13th in the AAC), 6.5 rebounds (16th in the AAC), 1.4 steals (seventh) and 3.0 assists (14th). He led the league in three-point shooting percentage for the second straight year by hitting 44.9 percent of his shots from long range, and was eighth in the league in free throw accuracy, connecting on 79.1 percent of his shots from the charity stripe. His career three-point shooting accuracy (45.1 percent) is second-best in program history, and he ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in points (1,110 — 31st), rebounds (653 — 15th), assists (294 — 15th), steals (139 — ninth), blocked shots (51 — tied for 23rd), field goal percentage (50.4 — 14th) and three-pointers made (128 — 11th).
Built around do-everything Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the team in points, rebounds, shooting percentage and steals, the Bucks’ offense averaged 103.6 points per game, which ranked 20th in the league. Of Milwaukee’s four players who averaged in double digits in the scoring column, Antetokounmpo is a star player without a position, Kris Middleton and Tony Snell are more forwards than guards, and center Greg Monroe is the team’s starting center. After selecting Michigan power forward D.J. Wilson in the first round, the Bucks drafted South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell, but ultimately shipped him off to the Los Angeles Clippers. Brown’s three-point shooting, ability to defend multiple positions, toughness and basketball IQ should allow him a strong chance to make the Milwaukee roster and force his way into the backcourt rotation.