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Top junior center on his list and what he wants in a college

Jahlil Okafor is the top-ranked center and No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 60 for 2014. This past summer, Okafor, a 6-foot-10 junior at Whitney Young (Chicago), led Team USA to the FIBA U17 World Championship and took home MVP honors. That makes Okafor one of the most sought after prospects in the country, regardless of class, with heavyweights like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State and Texas all in hot pursuit. Okafor has agreed to give USA TODAY High School Sports exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his every day life in a monthly blog.

Hey, hey everyone! I’m back with another blog as you can see.

Well, we’ve been practicing for a few weeks now and we’re really excited about our first game coming up soon. We play against DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.). That means that I get to play against my boy BeeJay Anya.

I talked to him a week or so back when he committed to N.C. State and of course we had to talk a little junk about who was gonna win the game.

I don’t really do guarantees, but I will promise that I’ll do my best to win the game. I’ll say this though; I’m pretty confident in my team and I feel pretty good about our chances to come out on top.


I love playing against BeeJay because I know that he goes hard and he’s a guy that likes to post a lot. It should be fun. We can’t let DeMatha come to our city and beat us.

I’m really excited about the City of Palms tournament in December and the Myrtle Beach tournament later that month too. Those are gonna be fun because there’s a lot of competition.

I’m excited that college basketball is in full swing now. I watched Duke beat Kentucky recently and I was really impressed with Mason Plumlee. When I was down there a couple months back on my visit, I told my dad that he was gonna be Player of the Year. He’s so big and strong and skilled. He’s a beast.

I saw UNC destroy Chaminade recently too; they looked really good that game. Then I also watched Illinois play and I was impressed with Georgetown too. I’ve seen a lot of different games. I just love watching basketball.

Now that the season has started I haven’t had a bunch of talks with the head coaches like before because they’re so focused on winning games and I really like that. I’m all about winning so I understand. I still text back and forth with the coaches and talk to them from time to time.

I talked to Coach (Tom) Izzo after one of their big wins recently and he was really excited. Same thing with Duke; when they beat Kentucky I got a bunch of texts from their staff saying they hoped that I watched their game and that they were just checking in on me. I thought that was really cool because they were probably still in the locker room after the game and they’re taking the time to text or call me. It just shows that they’re making me a priority and I can’t lie that definitely makes me feel good.

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Sometimes I get autograph requests from my classmates for the coaches recruiting me. They all want to meet the coaches when they come to the school. One time I took a couple students that were big Tom Izzo fans down to the gym to meet him when he came. It was cool to see him interacting with the students. He’s just a cool guy.

I think the coach that my classmates ask about the most is Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski). Probably because he’s got the most wins and he’s the most recognizable. They love him.

I don’t think that I’ll be visiting any schools any time soon.

I’m really focused on winning this season and I’m putting everything in to that. Maybe if I’m already in the city for a tournament or something, but other than that I’m focused on my team.

I definitely have been looking and will continue to look at what players will be there at the colleges when I’m there. Not like I won’t go there if a certain player is there at my position or something, it’s more about who is there to help us win. I look at talented players being there as a positive, even if it’s at my position. I never shy away from competition. I only know how to work hard for what I get.

To be honest with you guys I actually thought about cutting my list down a little bit. I was about to force the issue but when I really thought about it I didn’t think there was any rush. I just figure that I’ll wait until after the season then I’ll sit down with my family and look at my list more seriously.

I don’t know when I’d be ready to decide. I don’t know if I want to wait until the spring of my senior year or commit before the season starts. I’ve heard pros and cons for both so I guess that it’s just something that will happen naturally. I have no idea.

I do know that I don’t just want to go to a school that just throws me the ball in the post every possession. If that were true I’d just pick a school in my neighborhood and be done with it. I want to go to a school that gives me a great chance to win a national championship. I’m pretty sure that’ll take care of all of the rest of the goals that I have.

Most of the time when I go on visits I exchange numbers with the players there to keep in touch, but I would have to say that the college player I talk to the most out of the schools recruiting me is Sam Thompson at Ohio State. He went to Whitney Young like I do and he’s kinda like my big brother. He gives me great advice with everything.

Well, I wish I could give you guys a Pretty Little Liars update, but when I told you guys that a new episode was coming on in my last blog I was actually wrong. Somebody tweeted me telling me that they felt bad for me because they knew I thought a new episode was coming on. I’m not sure when it’ll be back on. I don’t want to say and be wrong again, so if you guys know make sure you let me know.

OK everyone I’m gonna get out of here, but, as always, I appreciate you reading my blog and I will check you guys on my next entry.

See you then.

Don’t forget to follow Okafor on Twitter: @jahprobound



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