Jahlil Okafor: The last piece of the 2014 puzzle?

5star_recruit_iconbasketball_iconOhio State basketball Head Coach Thad Matta is trying to finish his 2014 recruiting class with a proverbial slam dunk. Matta is trying to rock the recruiting world not only in the Big Ten, but also the national landscape. His number one target is none other than the top big man in the country. After all, he has been known to recruit a few highly touted big men such as Kosta Koufos, BJ Mullens and most notably, Greg Oden.

Arguably the number one overall prospect by all recruiting services is Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is a 6-10, 270 lb Center who hails from Chicago, IL (Whitney Young). This is the same high school current Buckeye Sam Thompson attended. In my mind, Thompson will have no bearing on where Okafor will choose to attend school. Most of that could be because they are separated by three years.

Okafor has great length and a phenomenal frame to work with. His tremendous athleticism for a big man as well as his good grades, make him the face of USA Basketball for the next generation. He’s competed on the USA National team and won Gold Medals the last three summers. Okafor has lived up to the lofty expectations on a global stage.

Okafor recently trimmed his list of potential schools down to 8. Those schools include, Arizona, Baylor, Kentucky, Duke, Illinois, Michigan State, Kansas and Ohio State. Visits to Baylor (August 30) and Kentucky (September 9) are already set. The other three visits are still up in the air. He’s also indicated he would like to decide before his senior basketball season begins. While Okafor hasn’t tipped his hand on a potential landing spot, there have been rumors he’d like to team up with fellow 2014 point guard and USA National Team teammate Tyus Jones.

12_mu17_rings_okafor_jahlil_bioIf I had to pick a landing spot for Okafor and Jones, I’d pick Duke. Okafor’s AAU coach has publicly gone on record saying he thinks Duke leads for the package deal. If true, this could potentially be the best package deal by unrelated prospects from different states ever. Duke has also had a heavy presence at many of Okafor’s AAU games this summer. Mr. Okafor (Jahlil’s dad) said of Duke, “I have a good relationship with Coach K. I talk to him whenever he contacts me. He’s doing a good job of recruiting Jahlil. You know, Coach K, he’s a legend. He’s a good dude.” Many times, recruiting the parents or decision makers in a prospect’s life is just as important as recruiting the prospect.

As we all know, recruiting is a marathon and not a sprint. While it will definitely be an uphill battle, there is still time for Matta and company to make up ground this fall. Lets hope Okafor finds his way on campus one weekend this fall when the Ohio State football team is in town. The atmosphere and support shown could go a long way in the recruiting process for Okafor.


  1. […] K took a look at Jahlil Okafor, the excellent center out of Illinois, a consensus top prospect and a target being pursued by Thad […]

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