High School: Tyus Jones

Four schools with best shot at Okafor

October, 6, 2013
Chicago Whitney Young center Jahlil Okafor, ESPN’s top-ranked senior, hasn’t officially cut his list to four schools, but Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky have the best chance of landing him, Okafor’s father said on Sunday.

Jahlil Okafor told Scout.com on Saturday he had narrowed his choices to Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky, but Chukwudi Okafor, Jahlil's father, said the list wasn’t official.

“We haven’t officially cut the list,” Chukwudi said in a phone interview on Sunday. “Those four schools have the best chance. Anything can still happen.”

Okafor participated in USA Basketball’s national team developmental training camp in Colorado on Saturday and Sunday. Chukwudi said he and his son would discuss his recruiting when Okafor returns to Chicago.

In late May, Okafor released a list of eight schools he was considering. The list included Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Okafor has said he’d like to attend the same school as Apple Valley (Minnesota) point guard Tyus Jones, who is ranked No. 4 by ESPN. Jones and Okafor have planned official visits to Duke and Kansas together later this month. They previously visited Baylor together.

Okafor making push for nation's top player

December, 6, 2012
CHICAGO -- UIC's home basketball court was occupied by some of the nation's best prep players from morning to night for the Chicago Elite Classic last week.

St. Vincent-St. Mary freshman Vincent King drew rave reviews. Illinois' future backcourt of Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn played before their future coach John Groce. Recruits from BYU, Dayton, Minnesota, N.C. State, Ohio State, among other schools all showed off their skills.

[+] EnlargeJahlil Okafor
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comJahlil Okafor is the best player in Chicago while Jabari Parker recovers from injury, but some don't expect that pecking order to change.
Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 2 senior, even surprised everyone and played in his first game since fracturing his foot in July.

But when the day ended and the participants, high school and college coaches, media and fans departed the arena, there was only one player who nearly everyone was talking about -- Whitney Young junior 7-foot, 265-pound center Jahlil Okafor.

Even though Parker was nowhere near 100 percent and Andrew Wiggins (the nation's No. 1 senior) and Tyus Jones (the nation's No. 1 junior) weren't present, Okafor's performance against DeMatha (Md.) led many to believe he should be the No. 1 player not only in the state regardless of class, but also the country.

One high-major college coach who was in attendance left thinking there was no doubt Okafor is the best player in the nation after witnessing his 34-point, nine-rebound performance against N.C. State recruit BeeJay Anya, who had 11 points and five rebounds.

"I think he's the No. 1 player in the country no matter the grade," the coach said. "Just his offensive package, you don't see that from a center, especially a kid his age. Left hand, right hand, putting it on the floor, jab step, you name it, he's got it all, makes free throws. It's ridiculous."

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Young's Okafor open to Illinois schools

November, 29, 2012
Whitney Young (Chicago) center Jahlil Okafor, the nation’s No. 2-ranked junior, said
Wednesday his recruitment was open and would still consider in-state schools DePaul and Illinois.

Okafor, a 7-foot, 270-pound center, had made a number of unofficial visits, including to Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State and UCLA, but he doesn’t plan on cutting his list or committing anytime soon.

“I haven’t done a list,” Okafor said. “Illinois and DePaul have as much of a chance as anybody.”

Okafor’s father, Chukwudi, also confirmed that.

“Illinois has a shot,” Chukwudi said. “DePaul has a shot. (DePaul coach Oliver Purnell) is a good guy. Everybody has a shot. I wouldn’t cut any of them out. Illinois is going to have to work. We’re going to pay attention to them. It’s the home team. They’re doing good things.”

Two factors in Okafor’s recruitment will probably be playing with his friend and point guard Tyus Jones, the nation’s top-ranked junior, and being able to immediately compete for a national title.

Jones and Okafor have been talking about playing with each other in college for the past few years, and they keep in touch several times a week.

“First of all, it’s just our friendship, our brotherhood, we’re just close,” Okafor said of Jones. “It’s fun to go to battle with someone you’re so close with. He’s a floor general.”

Winning is also vital to Okafor.

“The ultimate goal for him is to put himself in the position to win a national championship,” Chukwudi said.

Okafor and his team begin their season against DeMatha (Maryland) and North Carolina State recruit BeeJay Anya, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound center, in the Chicago Elite Classic at UIC on Saturday.