Semi Ojeleye hopes Celtics learn from last season’s trials

Semi Ojeleye
Photo credit Getty Images

Semi Ojeleye may have received more mixed messages than any Celtic in 2018-19.

From his rookie to his sophomore season, he saw a drop in playing time. Yet Brad Stevens expressed the forward may have been the team’s most improved player in 2018-19.

When it came to the team’s drama, Ojeleye didn’t think there were major problems last year. Though, like everyone else, he eventually noticed the flurry of reports.

“It was one of those things where . . . I don’t know. On the inside, it was like, ‘You know, we’re all right.’ But then you start hearing the whispers and you hear this in the media, that in the media and you this on your news feed and you’re like, ‘Man, is it really that bad?’” Ojeleye said at the unveiling of a new renovation at the Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Club in Dorchester, courtesy of the Celtics and Boston Scientific. “Even now, people are like, ‘Was it that bad?’ I don’t think it was. But that’s the nature of sports.”

Regardless of just how chaotic Ojeleye felt the 2018-19 season was, he’s found plenty to pull from the experience.

“I think just knowing that — the guys that were here last year, they know — there’s going to be ups and downs,” Ojeleye said. “There’s going to be a little losing streak. A game or two or three, we’re going to slide. And not pointing fingers and not looking at it independently, but just realize we’re coming through this together, we know what we have to do and eventually we’re going to turn the corner.”

Ojeleye also added the workouts with his teammates this summer have been “completely positive.”

“I think everybody knows that this year is going to be a fresh start for us,” he said. “A chance for us to really play good basketball all year and be a team all year, no matter what happens.”

When it comes to his individual game, Ojeleye hasn’t changed much with his training regiment — not that he needs to in the weight room, since he already works out as hard as anyone else in the league.

But Ojeleye has a chance to log a lot of minutes with Al Horford gone and the team in need of help at the defensive end. He’s aware of the opportunity, he just doesn’t want to misplace his focus.

Along with improving shooting consistency, Ojeleye made his mental game a major point of emphasis this summer.

“Not matter if shots are going in, if shots are not going in, just staying aggressive,” he said. “I think that’s half the battle for me, just knowing that I can do the things that I can on the court and from there, just going out and doing them."