Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Jahlil Okafor to hold in-home visits
By Scott Powers ESPNChicago.com
Whitney Young center Jahlil Okafor, ESPN's No. 1-ranked junior in the country, will hold in-home visits for Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State next week and already has hosted Ohio State, according to Okafor's father.
Chukwudi Okafor said Wednesday his son is interested in all five schools, but they aren't the only ones he's considering. The five schools were permitted in-home visits because they requested them. Chukwudi said other schools Okafor is interested in had not contacted the family to set up visits.
"These schools reached out and asked to come out to him," Chukwudi said. "I haven't called any coaches to say, 'Will you come to our home to visit?' That's not my job. We won't hold any visits to schools where Jahlil isn't going to have interest in them. I won't waste their time.
"At this point in the [recruiting] game, it's pretty mundane. It's pretty much the same. The coaches give you the same spiel for the last 2-3 years. Now, it's more of an informal setting. Sit back and relax, meet the family, see if they have any questions for us and vice versa. Any serious questions we have, we'll ask them. We want to find the best fit for Jahlil. This seems like the easy part."
The 6-foot-11, 270-pound Okafor averaged 21 points and nine rebounds during his junior season. He finished second to Simeon senior Jabari Parker, a Duke recruit, in the voting for Illinois' Mr. Basketball.
Okafor and Apple Valley (Minn.) point guard Tyus Jones, ESPN's No. 2-ranked player in the 2014 class, previously have said they would like to play together in college, and Chukwudi Okafor said that still could happen. Jones recently released a list of finalists that included Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State.
"That's definitely still a possibility," Chukwudi Okafor said. "They have a lot of the same schools in common they like. They're best friends. They've known each since they were 8 years old."
When asked about in-state schools, Chukwudi Okafor said Illinois was still involved with his son. Chukwudi Okafor said Illinois coach John Groce had not requested an in-home visit, but he would be permitted one if the family was asked.
"We were just talking about Coach Groce," Chukwudi Okafor said. "Coach Groce has contacted us a few times. He hasn't asked anything about a home visit. He's asked us to come out to visit. I've been there quite a few times. I'm not in a rush to get down to Champaign. Nothing against the coaching staff. Nothing against the university. I've been there enough to know about the school."
Chukwudi said his son hopes to put out a list of finalists in the near future. Okafor is playing the spring and summer club circuit with the Mac Irvin Fire.