Getting Down To It with Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor Adidas Nations 8/3/13 Garden Grove, CA

Jahlil Okafor
Adidas Nations 8/3/13
Garden Grove, CA

Everyone knows that Jahlil Okafor is an extremely high priority recruit for the Blue Devils, and his performance this past weekend at the Adidas Nations camp showed why.  If you’ve never seen him play before, the big man from Chicago really brings to the table everything you’d want in a low-post, power player.  He’s 6’10″-6’11″ and a very solid 270 pounds or so, with round shoulders, thick legs, and a solid backside.  But he’s very, very agile as well for a man his size.  He is nimble around the rim when the situation calls for it, he runs the floor very well, and he can handle the ball skillfully for a big guy.  One big thing I like about him is that he knows he’s an inside power player, and so you don’t see him jacking up 20 footers.  He doesn’t want to be Kevin Durant.  Defensively, he challenges a lot of shots, he talks well, and he’s just a presence in there.  There were a few scouts who said they thought he should be more consistently dominant, that he should take better advantage of his size, that he needs to bring greater energy every time out, but I frankly didn’t see that at all, and I don’t think that’s going to be a problem going forward for Jahlil or for whatever program is lucky enough to welcome him.

The kid has excellent body language too.  Both on and off the floor he’s upbeat, positive, and likable.  The other guys clearly like playing with him.  Jahlil is very personable, he looks you in the eye during conversation — just an excellent young man in all respects.

Here’s what Jahlil had to say this weekend about his experience with USA Basketball this summer, the state of his recruitment, the manner in which Duke is recruiting him, how many people’s perceptions of Coach K are simply wrong, and a number of other topics.

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