High-SchoolIllinois: Jahlil Okafor

Stock Watch was tuned into the ESPN network on Saturday night, as the Simeon and Whitney Young basketball teams played televised games in the Cancer Research Classic. Both of their opponents were nationally ranked, but a pair of players helped their stock with impressive performances.


UP — Kendrick Nunn, Simeon
Junior forward Jabari Parker may have been the star, but Simeon wouldn't have won without Nunn's contributions. The junior guard gave the Wolverines an infusion of perimeter scoring, posting 19 points and five rebounds in a 59-56 win over Miller Grove (Ga.). Nunn kept Simeon ahead when Parker cooled off in the second half, and he was clutch down the stretch — Nunn calmly drilled a pair of free throws to give Simeon its three-point lead with less than 10 seconds to play.

UP — Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young
Okafor isn't under the radar by any means — he's currently the No. 3 player in the ESPNU 25. But the sophomore big man showed why he's such a great prospect, posting up and scoring at will against Gonzaga Prep. Though Whitney Young lost the game, 55-44, Okafor finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Just a sophomore, expect the 6-foot-9 center's stock to continue rising in the coming years.

Have a hot stock tip? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and tell me about it.

Gonzaga College rolls past Whitney Young

January, 8, 2012

WHEELING, W.Va. -- Things couldn’t get any worse for Nate Britt.

Here his Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.) team was lucky to be down three to Whitney Young (Chicago) at the half and Britt had contributed just one steal and one foul.

“It was my worst first half of the year I’d say,” said Britt, a junior point guard who is committed to North Carolina and ranked No. 15 in the ESPNU 60. “I knew we needed to pick it up, but I just couldn’t get it going. I’ve been in a slump the last few games. We were gonna need someone else to step up.”

Enter Kris Jenkins.

The junior forward used his quickness and relentless motor to dominate Whitney Young’s frontcourt to the tune of 21 points and seven rebounds to help Gonzaga (10-0), ranked No. 11 in the POWERADE FAB 50, roll past the Dolphins (6-4) 54-44 Saturday night at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va.

Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof chipped in with 10 points for Gonzaga, and Jahlil Okafor, who is ranked No. 3 in the ESPNU 25, led Whitney Young with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“I definitely noticed that we needed a boost,” said Jenkins, who was named Most Valuable Player. “They were a lot bigger than me, but I felt like I could beat them with my first step and that worked for me. That was a tough win, but we found a way to get it done.”

The Dolphins jumped on Gonzaga early by pumping the ball inside to Okafor, who overpowered the Eagles' front court scoring 10 points in the first half to give the Dolphins a slim 32-29 lead at the half.

Gonzaga couldn’t get anything going offensively in the first half. They shot just 34 percent from the floor and went 1-of-8 from the 3-point line.

The lone bright spot was Jenkins whose 16 first half points kept them within striking distance.

“We couldn’t hit anything,” Britt said. “We’re usually a lot better shooting the ball so I don’t know what was going on there. Jahlil was killing us in the first half so what we really talked about was turning it up defensively in the second half. We felt like that’s where we’d have the best chance to win.”

By the end of the third quarter, Gonzaga’s intense defensive pressure had caused Whitney Young to commit 18 turnovers. The Eagles only had three.

Midway through the fourth quarter they’d turned those giveaways into a 19-6 run, a deficit the Dolphins couldn’t recover from.

“We know that Whitney Young is a great team and Jahlil is a great player,” Jenkins said. “And they play a tough schedule so we knew that their record didn’t mean anything at all. We are really happy to come away with the win. It’s huge for our program and to do it on national TV was really special.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

All-State Hoops: Illinois

November, 8, 2011
See all 51 All-State teams.

With the 2011-12 hoops season set to tip off, ESPNHS has all the info you need on the top players in Illinois.

We’ve broken down the state’s top 20 players into four teams based on their talent, and included a whole lot of other players who just missed the cut. Keep in mind, these selections are based on past accomplishments and projected on-court performance in addition to recruit rankings.

For a list of the top senior basketball recruits in Illinois, click here.

Illinois All-State Basketball

First Team

G: Billy Garrett, Morgan Park, 6-3/165, Junior
Committed to DePaul in the spring.

F: Thomas Hamilton, Whitney Young, 6-8/230, Junior
Big man is on the cusp of dominant breakthrough season.

F: Jabari Parker, Simeon, 6-8/230, Junior
No. 1 recruit in Class of 2013 is arguably the nation's best overall player.

F: Steve Taylor, Simeon, 6-7/175, Senior
Marquette recruit is ranked No. 1 senior in state by ESPNU.

C: Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young, 6-8/260, Sophomore
Teams with Hamilton to give Whitney Young twin shot blockers.

Second Team

G: Malcolm Hill, Belleville East, 6-5/200, Junior
Posted 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds per game as a soph.

G: Kendrick Nunn, Simeon, 6-1/175, Junior
De-committed from Texas A&M earlier this fall.

G: Michael Orris, Crete-Monee, 6-3/185, Senior
Smooth guard dished out more than six assists per game last year.

F: Alex Foster, De La Salle, 6-8/205, Junior
Long, rangy southpaw is a premier shot blocker.

F: Paul White, Whitney Young, 6-8/185, Sophomore
Expected to play major role after promising freshman season.

Third Team

G: Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East, 6-5/165, Junior
Shooting guard has a deadly 3-point shot.

G: Jaylon Tate, Simeon, 6-1/170, Junior
Electric guard transferred from De La Salle over the summer.

G: Fred Van Vleet, Auburn, 5-11/175, Senior
Wichita State commit scored more than 17 points per game last year.

F: Jermaine Morgan, Whitney Young, 6-8/220, Senior
Colorado State recruit is versatile offensive player.

F: Willie Wiley, Springfield, 6-7/200, Senior
Posted 11.4 points, 8.2 rebounds per game a year ago.

Fourth Team

G: Kory Brown, Elgin, 6-4/180, Senior
Expect a huge season — he put up 16.1 points and 6.1 boards last year.

G: Keith Carter, Proviso East, 6-1/170, Senior
Combo guard has committed to Loyola.

G: Aaron Simpson, North Chicago, 6-0/175, Senior
Averaged more than 22 points per game last year.

F: Connor Boehm, New Trier, 6-7/190, Senior
Tough big man should average around 20 points per game this year.

F: Darius Paul, Warren, 6-8/210, Senior
Leads the No. 2 team in the state.

Other Top Players
Cliff Alexander, Curie, C, So.
Austin Angel, New Trier, F, Sr.
Larry Austin, Lamphier, G, So.
A.J. Avery, St. Rita, F, Sr.
Ka’Darryl Bell, Oak Park-River Forest, G, Sr.
T.J. Bell, Charleston, G, Sr.
Nathan Boothe, Warren, C, Sr.
Sterling Brown, Proviso East, G, Jr.
Paris Burns, Proviso East, G, Sr.
Mike Fleming, Stevenson, G, sr.
JoVaughn Gaines, Warren, G, Sr.
Cameron Harvey, St. Joseph, G, Sr.
Tony Hicks, St. Rita, G, Sr.
Jalen James, Hope Academy, G, Jr.
C.J. Jones, Orr, G, Sr.
Robert Knar, Mundelein, G, Jr.
Eric Locke, Oak Park-River Forest, G, So.
Alex Majewski, Brother Rice, F, Jr.
Andrew McAuliffe, Glenbrook North F, Jr.
Jamall Millison, Downers Grove South, G, Sr.
Donald Moore, Bloom, G, Sr.
Jelani Neely, Simeon, G, Sr.
Kyle Nelson, St. Charles North, F, Sr.
Derrick Randolph, Whitney Young, G, Sr.
Jameris Smith, Warren, G, Sr.
Gabriel Snider, Whitney Young, G, Sr.
Akeem Springs, Waukegan, F, Sr.
Xavier Taylor, Morgan Park, C, Jr.
Jerron Wilbut, Donwers Grove South, G, Sr.
Tim Williams, Homewood-Flossmoor, C, Sr.