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Is Illinois a potential landing spot for Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye?

Duke sophomore Semi Ojeleye announced this weekend that he will transfer from Duke. Could Champaign be a potential destination for the former Illini target?

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

News broke on Sunday that Duke sophomore Semi Ojeleye is transferring out of the program. Ojeleye wasn't seeing much playing time as a Blue Devil thanks to freshmen Jahlil Okafor and Justice Winslow receiving a bulk of the playing time. The 6'7 Power Forward was averaging 3.0PPG and 2.3RPG in about 10.5 minutes per game this season.

The Kansas native was a consensus top 30 recruit coming out of high school and he held offers from Duke, Arizona, Indiana, UCLA, Wisconsin, and Illinois among others.

Why Illinois should get involved:

  • At 6'7/230, Ojeleye already has a Big Ten-ready body. He'd provide some great depth at the 4 next year, which would presumably allow Malcolm Hill to play the 3 after the departure of Rayvonte Rice.
  • He can rebound!
  • The other early "front-runners" appear to be Indiana and SMU; Champaign is closer than both of those options. However Kansas may also get involved so the distance factor could change.
  • There's already some familiarity between the two sides as Ojeleye took an unofficial visit to Illinois back in 2012.

Why Illinois shouldn't get involved:

  • Being a mid-season transfer, he'd have to sit out until the second semester of next season. That's better than sitting out the entire 2015-16 campaign, though.
  • With Leron Black already on the team, Ojeleye's skill set may be a bit redundant. (Who cares!)
  • No scholarships are available. If Ojeleye were to join the Illini, they would be oversigned by one next season--someone on the current roster would need to transfer.
  • The "oversign spot" should be reserved for a PG (Marcus LoVett) or a PF/C (Carlton Bragg) because those are both bigger needs.


Will Illinois get involved? Who knows. Either way, one thing is for sure--John Groce and the staff will do their due diligence and explore all options.

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