One on one with Jahlil Okafor

The nation's top prospect, Jahlil Okafor, sat down with TDD to discuss his recent list reduction, his upcoming visits, and just how sure he is that he and Tyus Jones are going to play together in college.

How was the first day for you at USA Camp?

Jahlil Okafor: Oh, it was good, the morning we started out early this morning and I had a slight ankle sprain, nothing major, but I'm sidelined for the rest of the weekend. Everybody has been competing here, we've got a lot of young guys from the 2015/16 classes here, but we also have a lot of the top 2014 players here who are trying to prepare for the Hoop Summit a little early from the last two years.

How hard is it for you knowing you can't participate in the rest of the camp?

Very hard, I've been playing USA Basketball for like the last four years, since I was a freshman, and I was really looking forward to coming out here and playing with guys like Tyus Jones, Stanley Johnson, Kevon Looney and all these other guys. I was a little disappointed because I'm always playing against these guys and I was looking forward to playing with them. I still support them even when I'm off the court.

Switching gears, what's it like for you being the big man in Chicago now that Jabari is in college?

It's pretty cool. With Jabari gone, and it's my senior year, I'm really excited to be a senior, and I'm the guy that everybody looks up to this year and a lot will be expected of me and I remember back to when I was a freshman and we had all these guys that were seniors and now I'm that guy, I'm the senior. I just gotta finish out my high school career and move onto college, it's very exciting.

What kind of advice has Jabari given to you about handling being the main guy in Chicago now that he's gone?

Just to be myself. Always be myself and to stay humble in everything I do.

In reading your Scout.com interview earlier today, you mentioned Jabari has talked with you about what it's been like for him working with the Duke staff, can you share any of the highlights for you from those conversations?

It's nothing to specific really, he just told me he's really enjoying himself down there and he really loves the whole vibe down there with the fans. He's really enjoying himself with his new teammates. Overall, he's happy to be a part of the Duke family.

How much, if any, does Jabari's feedback and ability to provide you an inside look at Duke factor into your evaluation of the Duke program?

It's not too much of a big deal to me, because Jabari is such an amazing talented player that I don't expect him to be there next year when I get there next year because of the level of basketball player that he is. Because of that I don't expect him to be there next year. He's just trying to be helpful to me because he's down there and he can tell me what's going on and I know he will always tell me the truth about everything.

With your quote today that it's 99.9% likely that you and Tyus Jones are playing together in college, I'm curious, is there anything that could cause you guys not to play together?

Nothing that I can think of. We've narrowed it down pretty much to the same schools and we're pretty much on the same page right now, so, nothing I can think of. Unless it's a family emergency type of thing, but I couldn't really see anything. I don't want to say something wrong, but I don't see anything.

It looks like your dad has a big influence on you in your decision as evidenced by your thoughts earlier today on his thoughts you may not be ready to decide, can you share any insight into what his reasons are for not thinking it's potentially the right time for you to decide?

It's just such a huge decision, my dad doesn't want me to rush anything, he wants me to make sure that I told him when I was ready and what school I want to go to. November might be the date, but my dad, he's kinda doubtful, and he's not sure I'll be ready, but I think I will be. I've got two more official visits to take, then I think I'll have my mind made up.

Do you feel like his doubts could help steer this into a longer process? No, whenever I'm ready, once I assure him that I'm ready to decide, then he'll be fine with that. The decision is all about me.

With the Duke visit coming up at the end of the month, what's the communication been like with Coach K and the Duke staff?

Pretty much the same as always, he contacts me at least twice a week, and it's the same thing with all the schools recruiting me, that's kinda where I'm at with all the schools, constant contact.

In wrapping up, having the Duke visit last, was that by your request, or was that by Duke's request?

That's just how it happened, with schedules.


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