Jayson Tatum is only 24 years old, and he’s only ever played for the Boston Celtics, but he’s shared the floor with a lot of different teammates throughout his career. Boston has adjusted their roster time and time again in an attempt to put Tatum in the best position to succeed.
He’s played with stars like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, solid role players like Daniel Theis and Marcus Smart, and a bunch of young players like Carsen Edwards and Payton Pritchard. Well, one of Tatum’s former teammates recently spoke about the star’s development throughout the years.
In an interview with Adam Taylor of CelticsBlog, former Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye spoke about Tatum’s growth thus far throughout his career. He talked about playing in Summer League with him and what it’s been like to watch him grow.
“And like I’ve watched him from when we were in Summer League together to now – really being like a physical force out there, like it’s been incredible to see his growth,” said Ojeleye.
Ojeleye also joked about what it was like to watch Tatum his rookie season.
“JT came to the league and guys are like, oh, like this skinny kid, that’s like super skilled,” he noted.
After being waived by the LA Clippers last season, Ojeleye signed a two-year deal with Italian club Virtus Bologna this offseason. He spent the first four years of his career with the Celtics.
In addition to discussing Tatum’s development, Ojeleye also spoke about the growth of Tatum and Jaylen Brown as a duo.
Ojeleye: Tatum & Brown ‘Have a Vision’
While in Boston, Ojeleye got the chance to play with Tatum and Brown for all four years. He watched them go from young players fighting for their minutes to the stars of the team leading the way. Ojeleye revealed that he could always tell they had a vision.
“You can always tell that, they have a vision of where they want to end up and how good they want to be. And you see this throughout their career, especially, you know, coming in with, JT and watching JB grow, even though he was in the league when I was. Like seeing their game grow, you can see that it’s part of their mentality and that’s both in how they approach the game physically and how they approach the game mentally,” Ojeleye said.
The former Celtics forward also talked with Taylor about his injury struggles and gave his prediction for the 2022 NBA Champions.
Ojeleye on Injuries and Title Predictions
During his last year in the league, Ojeleye dealt with some unfortunate injury luck. He said that this was a result of his workouts.
“Those crazy workouts were kind of the reason I had two calf injuries last year,” Ojeleye explained. “Injuries like that are most of the time overuse…one thing I’ve learned and you know, having that work ethics been great, but also learn just, you know when it’s done, go get your rest so you can come back the next day.”
Taylor also asked him for a prediction for the upcoming season, and according to Ojeleye, one of Boston’s rivals could be taking home the Larry O’Brien this year.
“I’m not gonna lie. I think, Philly’s got a good shot, man. They look good this year. Really good,” Ojeleye revealed.
It’s great to hear Ojeleye speak so highly of Tatum and Brown, but Celtics fans might not be too happy with his title prediction.