Boston Celtics Nigerian-born youngster, Semi Ojelye has downplayed the impact he is having with the team in his debut NBA season.
Though several rave reviews trailed him into his side’s clash with Milwaukee Bucks, Ojeleye insisted that the focus should be on the entire Celtics team.
He was rated high on the chances of doing a good of defending fellow-Nigerian-born NBA star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Ojeleye chose to deflect all the praise that was directed towards him.
Ojeleye stressed that attention should be on all of the Boston team, with a view that they would stand a better chance in holding at bay the fiery Antetokounmpo together as one.
He stressed: “I don’t think it’s me. I think it’s our team. You could say that or everybody on our team when they guard him.”
Celtics coach, Brad Stevens echoed similar sentiments with Ojeleye, adding: “There’s only so many guys that have the strength to have a chance in slowing down Giannis.
“And that’s all you’re trying to do, make it as difficult as possible and make him earn everything.
“He still gets to where he wants to go, you still have to show with multiple defenders. Semi’s body allows for minutes at that matchup.”
However, NBA pundits pointed at a number of factors that contributed to both teams splitting the first two games they played this season, with a verdict that Ojeleye’s defense on Antetokounmpo was a factor.
In Boston’s 117-113 win over The Bucks on November 1, Ojeleye held Antetokounmpo for a team-high 24 possessions, limiting him to nine points on 3-for-6 shooting.
For the game, Antetokounmpo had 33 points on 13-for-22 shooting to go with 11 rebounds.
Ojeleye defended him for just 15 possessions and gave up 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting by Antetokounmpo, and finished with 30 points on 8-for-13 shooting.
Ojeleye added: “I just try to make it tough on him. He’s a great player. I just try to lock in and make it tough as possible.
“With a guy like that, try to take away dunks and layups. From there, just hope he misses.”