Okafor shows growth

Five-star center Jahlil Okafor has grown over the past year and college coaches are all over his recruitment.

The No. 2 overall player in the 2014 class is Jahlil Okafor. The Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young standout is now a legit 6-foot-10 and 265 pounds and is ready to have a dominant summer for the Mac Irvin Fire. With that he is also picking up significant recruiting attention.

It wasn't the dream season that was hoped this year for Whitney Young, but still the Dolphins had a solid year, and Okafor was a huge reason why.

"I think individually I improved a lot," said Okafor. "Having Tommy Hamilton hurt the first part of the season was tough because he is like a big brother and has my back, but it made me grow up a lot faster and become a better player."

During the year a who's who of college coaches came out to see him, and as of now six schools are seemingly most in the mix.

"Ohio State, Michigan State, Arizona, Duke, North Carolina, Illinois' new coach hasn't reached out yet," said Okafor. "Ohio State, Michigan State, and Arizona are the three recruiting me the hardest."

When it comes to the Buckeyes, Okafor points to previous relationships and the job they have done developing post players.

"They have one of my former teammates in Sam Thompson and one of my friends in Jared Sullinger," said Okafor. "They both tell me they absolutely love it at Ohio State. Also I like what they did in terms of getting the ball to Jared a lot on the post."

Ohio State's Big Ten rival Michigan State also has a connection with Okafor and has been very active in the recruitment.

"I talk to Draymond Green who tells me about the campus and how much he loved it there," said Okafor. "I like Coach (Tom) Izzo as well and I think he is a good coach who gets the best out of his players."

Okafor has made an unofficial visit to Arizona and liked what he saw and also likes the development that players have shown at the school.

"They just tell me how they develop players and how Derrick Williams wasn't ranked and ended up as the No. 2 draft pick," said Okafor of Arizona. "They just tell me how they develop players and how Arizona has the most players in the NBA."

One school that isn't as involved is Illinois. The Fighting Illini have gone through a coaching change and Okafor is waiting to see where things go with them.

"I'm not really familiar with the new coach, but I do like the program," said Okafor. "I am mostly familiar with Bruce Weber and Coach Jerrance (Howard). I think Illinois will still be good and I look forward to getting to know the new staff."

Then there is North Carolina and Duke. Okafor says that both have been active and it is an honor to be recruited by them.

"Duke and North Carolina are schools I have always watched," said Okafor. "It is amazing to be recruited by them because that rivalry is always something that I wanted to be a part of."

For now Okafor is working on his game and just taking things slow with his recruitment. Don't expect any kind of quick decision from the elite prospect.


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