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Jahlil Okafor on a bittersweet season, Duke's tournament chances and AAU


Jahlil Okafor is the top-ranked player in the ESPN 60for 2014. This past summer, Okafor, a 6-foot-10 junior at Whitney Young (Chicago), led Team USA to the FIBA U17 WorldChampionship 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 HSS exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his every day life in a monthly blog.

What’s up everybody!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back now.

I took the way we ended our season pretty hard. It was a heartbreaker. We lost in states to Simeon, who is our archrival. It’s honestly the worst type of way to lose, but I’m focusing on the good things we did this season.

We won the city championship, then our team got to travel all around the country and we won all the games we played in big tournaments in Boston and West Virginia, so I’m really proud of the season overall.

Just hate the way we ended it.

MORE: Coaches can't pronounce Okafor's name

I’m different. I hate to lose. I really hate to lose.

I took about five or six days until I even turned my phone back on after we lost. I just didn’t want to talk to anyone or hear from anyone. That’s just something that I usually do.

Now I’m doing a lot better.

I’ve talked to my boy Jabari (Parker) a lot since that game and we just talk about regular stuff. We never talk about that game though. We don’t even talk about recruiting. People think because we’re friends he would be recruiting me hard to come to Duke, but he really doesn’t even talk about that. Like the last time we talked it was about both of us getting our licenses recently.

I’m so excited that AAU is about to start up. I run with the Mac Irvin Fire, and we’re gonna have another strong team this year. We’re definitely going for that EYBL title this year.

I know everyone is watching the NCAA tournament and, as you know, all of my Final Four picks are still alive [Editor's Note: Okafor lost Indiana on Thursday night] so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

I picked Duke to win it all and a lot of people were using that as a chance to say that Duke is my favorite, but that’s really who I think will win it. I’m a fan of college basketball and after looking at the brackets I think they’ve got what it takes to win it.

I remember when I went down there I got to watch firsthand how they prepare and I’ve got confidence in Coach K too, so, as a fan of college basketball, I think Duke will win it.

I will definitely be watching their game against Michigan State though because they’re recruiting me really hard too.

That’s gonna be a tough, tough game. I can’t wait to watch that one.

Now that March Madness has cranked up I’ve been hearing more from assistants.

Recently, I’ve heard from Ohio State, Michigan State, Kansas and Duke. I have heard from Coach K and Coach (Tom) Izzo though. They’ve been texting me.

It’s funny getting texts from some of the coaches because you can tell they’re better talking on the phone than texting. Like Coach K, I think he’d much rather talk on the phone. Not to put him on blast or anything, but Coach K isn’t the fastest texter, haha!

It’s cool that he does it anyway though.

The assistants tend to be faster texters, like Coach (Jeff) Boals at Ohio State is fast and Coach (Jeff) Capel is really fast too.

I talk about some of the most random things with coaches sometimes. Like most of the coaches know that I’m a dog lover so me and Coach Boals were talking one time about dogs and he told me that his dog’s full name is Rebound Jahlil Boals.

I thought that was really cool. Definitely the first dog I’ve had named after me.

I was happy for my boy Julius Randle on his commitment to Kentucky. That’s a crazy class they’ve got there. Of course y’all know that me and my boy Tyus (Jones) are gonna do something similar and play in college together somewhere. We talked about it when Kentucky got all of those horses, and I don’t think anyone will bring that much talent to one school in one class for a while. I mean they’ve got so many talented guys coming, it’s crazy.

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They’re gonna be scary good.

I have no idea when I’ll make my decision. It could be before the season starts or after, I’m just gonna take my time and make the right decision.

I can’t wait for all the guys to get into my city for the McDonald’s All American game next week.

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I will definitely be in the house to watch all of my boys play one of their last games of their high school careers. Especially my boy Jabari. I really want to support him. I wouldn’t miss it.

It’s something for me to look forward to for next year. I’m gonna work even harder so I can have the opportunity to play in it God-willing.

OK, so you know I’ve gotta give y’all the rundown on my show, Pretty Little Liars.

The season finale was last week and it was crazy!

I just can’t believe what happened. Some girl was supposed to have been dead for the last three years and they ended up seeing her rescuing them out of the fire. It was crazy. It really left me hanging too.

It’s so hard to wait for the next season. Eventually, my thirst for the show will die down, but right now I just can’t wait.

Alright, well I’m gonna head outta here y’all. Thanks, as always, for reading my blog and I know I haven’t been around as much lately, but I’m back now so make sure to check back soon for my next one.

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

 

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