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Top junior center Okafor on his Duke visit, going undefeated


9:41 AM, Oct. 30, 2012 EDT

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.

What’s up everybody I’m back and I’m definitely excited because basketball season is back.

We’re getting closer and closer to starting our season and, I’ve told y’all this before, I’m really excited about our team this year. We just finished up fall league and we didn’t lose a game all season.

Our last game we played was against Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.), which was the second-best team in the state last year. They have my boy Sterling Brown, who’s going to SMU. We won that game by 30.

Sterling actually got hurt at the beginning of the game, but they still had a good team and we took care of them pretty easily.

We won our games in the fall league by about 35 points every game.

We’re gonna be nice!

MORE: Jahlil's Previous Blog Entry
MORE: USA TODAY HSS Player Blogs

I did pretty good for the fall league. I averaged about 24 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three blocks a game. I feel like we can do big things this year!

Me and my boy Jabari Parker over at Simeon (Chicago) talk all the time about playing against each other this year. That’s a game I’m definitely looking forward to. We’re both competitive so we both think our team is gonna win. We’ll see this year though. We play them at least twice.

A little over a week ago, I went down to Duke’s Countdown to Craziness and had a ball with my boy Tyus Jones. We had a great time down there just talking with the coaches and embracing the fans. We got to hang out with Theo Pinson too, so all of us were just loving everything about Duke.

I talked to Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski a lot about the plans he had for me if I were to come to Duke and I loved everything he was saying. They broke down some plays they run and showed us how they would use us in each of them. Tyus was watching Coach K’s interaction with Quinn Cook, since Quinn’s running the point, and I was watching everything that Mason Plumlee was doing. I was really impressed with him. He does so many things well. I could see myself in that position.

As much fun as I had, I knew that I wasn’t gonna commit. It’s so early for me and I’ve talked to a bunch of my friends who committed too early and ended up decommitting. I go into every visit knowing that I’m gonna have lots of fun, but I try and keep an open mind and just enjoy things at this point.

It was funny because during the visit we went to the Duke-UNC football game and me and Theo went to the concession stand to get some food and while we were there this UNC fan yelled over to us that we need to go to North Carolina. Well, the Duke fans didn’t like that too much since the game was at Duke and so that started a big argument. It was crazy.

It was pretty cool to see how much emotion those fans have for their schools, even though I don’t want to see people argue. But I have to say, it was pretty funny.

Me and Tyus always talk about playing at the same school in college, as most of you know, but just being on the visit together and seeing the practices made it even more real. We kept asking each other how the other one liked it and we both loved everything about it. It’s not definite, but we would look forward to Theo coming in with us. That would be great.

Talking to Coach K in person on the visit was great. He’s really a humble guy and he’s arguably the best coach in basketball, period. Just seeing how well he treated me and my family and the students around campus was great. That’s someone I would love to play for.

Another thing I really loved about the coaches there was that I never heard about another school the whole time I was there. They just focused on what they could do for me. So many schools talk about Duke it’s crazy. I don’t like when coaches say: “Don’t go to Duke and end up setting screens.” That’s a major turnoff to me.

Plus, I don’t know what they’re watching because I’ve never thought big men did that at Duke. I look at Mason and they always get him the ball. Then Duke showed me how they helped develop Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer and Christian Laettner and other guys. They put lots of big men in the league so that’s just a lie when people say that.

I didn’t get a chance to stay for a long time at North Carolina, but in the short time I was there I would definitely have to say I had a great time.

Coach Roy (Williams) was telling me about how his health was getting better and better. So I was really happy to hear that, and then he started telling me about how they would use me there. It was really impressive. Just seeing all of the big men that they’ve developed there and how they run things was really cool. I wish I could’ve had more time there.

Kansas has started getting in the picture again now.

They had contacted me during my freshman year and I hadn’t heard from them in a long time, so when they called me they apologized for not keeping in touch. They said they thought I already had my list made up.

It’s crazy the rumors that go around.

That one almost kept them away. That’s why I really mean it when I say if you don’t hear it from me here on my blog then you can just assume it’s not true.

I don’t even have a list yet. I don’t want to have one right now, but I’ll probably cut things down after the basketball season.

Duke has definitely been in contact with me a lot along with Ohio State, Kentucky, Baylor, Michigan State, Arizona and Georgetown. I’m sure I missed one or two, that’s why I don’t even like listing schools that I talk to the most, haha. I'm definitely planning to get down to Michigan State and Ohio State to catch a football game. That's a must.

I always see when the schools that are recruiting me get big commitments so I liked seeing the Harrison twins commit to Kentucky. Everyone knew that they were obviously a package deal the whole time and that reminded me of me and Tyus.

OK guys, that’s enough about recruiting, you know I’ve got to give you the latest on my favorite show, “Pretty Little Liars.”

I know a couple of people have been hitting me up on Twitter joking on me about watching the show, but I’m telling y’all it’s great. Plus, those people can’t see me on the court anyway, so it’s all good, haha.

Well, I’ve finally caught up and I’m watching it in season now after watching the previous episodes on Netflix. We’ve got episode two tonight so I’m excited about that.

Tonight we find out why everything went down on the train. It’s gonna be a great show!

Well, I’m gonna get on out of here everyone. Thanks again for reading my blog and I will definitely see you guys back here soon for my next one.

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

 

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