Okafor cuts list, discusses package deal

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Jahlil Okafor opened up about his recruitment at the USA Basketball Developmental Camp on Saturday. He discussed the possibility of a package deal with Tyus Jones, cut his list to four and broke down the schools involved.

Jahlil Okafor, Scout.com's top ranked prospect in the 2014 class, is down to Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.

"It's pretty much those four," Okafor told Scout.com in an interview following the first session at the USA Basketball Developmental Camp. "I haven't actually said that yet, but it is pretty much going to be those four."

Another important piece to Okafor's recruitment is Tyus Jones. The two prospects have developed a close bond and are planning to play in college together.

"Tyus is my brother," Okafor told Scout.com. "We are going to school together. We have pretty much that four I told you, is pretty much his four also. We are pretty serious about it. It's going to happen."

Jones told Scout.com that the chances of he and Okafor playing together in college is "99-percent." Okafor said the percentage is even higher.

"99.9-percent," he said. "That's about right."

So why do Okafor and Jones want to play in college together?

"I think first off it starts with him being a true point guard," Okafor said. "The first game [at USA Basketball] he had 10 assists in eight minutes. That speaks for itself. Me being a true big man I think we would really complement each other well."

"Off the court we are the best of friends," he added. "Everybody here at USA basketball knows that's my best friend and I'm his best friend. They always know we are together. We go eat together. They put us in the same room. With us having such good chemistry on the court and liking each other so much off the court, it's perfect for us."

Okafor and Jones visited Baylor together the weekend of August 31st. While Jones had visited the Bears previously, it was Okafor's first trip to Waco (Tex.).

"That was an amazing trip," Okafor said. "I was really surprised. I think Baylor's campus is very underrated to me. I just didn't know anything about Baylor. I just knew Tyus had been there previously. He told me it was a great campus. I loved it."

"It seemed like all the players really loved the coaches and respected them," he added. "The coaches also respected the players. I was really surprised at how amazing my visit went."

During the visit, Okafor spent quite a bit of time with Baylor coach Scott Drew. He left the visit impressed with Drew's demeanor and the way he coaches.

"He was telling me how energetic he is," Okafor said. "I could just tell that by watching him interact with his players and how he'd force me every day to get better and won't let me settle. With how high energy of a guy he is he said hopefully that would be contagious to me and would make me work hard."

A little more than a week after the Baylor trip, Okafor visited Kentucky officially for their alumni game festivities on September 7th.

"It was a lot of fun," Okafor said. "I got to see DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Anthony Davis, Eric Bledsoe, all of those guys come back to the program and interact with the players. It was just a lot of fun."

John Calipari's pitch to Okafor centered on his recent success with Chicago-based players.

"He had a little joke that the last two players he had from Chicago he made into number one draft picks with D-Rose and Anthony Davis," Okafor said. "The proof is in the pudding basically. Kentucky pretty much speaks for itself. So everything he was saying, wasn't new to me."

Of the four schools on Okafor's list, it appears there is one school that appears to be on the outside looking in for Jones. Kentucky, who had Okafor on campus in early September 7th, recently took a commitment from Tyler Ulis, which led to Jones cancelling his official visit to UK.

"I was talking to him about that last night actually," Okafor said. "This was my first time actually getting to talk to him in person about that so I'm trying to tell him. He said he doesn't want to do that because Tyler [Ulis] is already there. But I just tell him it should be about you, not about Tyler. I'm trying to talk to him about that now."

Okafor and Jones are taking official visits to Kansas and Duke together. He will visit Kansas the weekend of October 18th and Duke the weekend of October 25th.

With Kansas, Okafor says the draw is his relationship with Bill Self, assistant coach Jerrance Howard and how much success they have had recently with post players.

"I just love coach Self and they also have coach Jerrance, who was one of the first coaches to ever recruit me when he was at Illinois," Okafor said. "But coach Self is really selling to me that they are a big man school and how well they did with their past big men and he thinks I can be even better than that."

"Just the high-low offense and all the different things they do with their bigs and really their player development is what I like about Kansas," he added.

Okafor said Duke has been recruiting him for more than two years and he's developed a strong relationship with their staff.

"I just love Duke," Okafor said. "I love coach K. He's been recruiting me since I was a sophomore. Him and my family really have pretty good relationships and I just really love the atmosphere of Duke".

"I've been able to talk to Jabari [Parker] and he tells me it's even better than what he thought. I just like Duke a lot."

Originally, Okafor was planning to sign early, but he's not sure if that will happen anymore.

"That was the plan, but talking to my dad he told me I still not be ready," Okafor said. "That's kind of true because I still don't know where I want to go yet. I would like to get it out of the way and announce early, but it's not looking too good right now."


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