Top-ranked Okafor drawing rave reviews

Top-ranked Okafor drawing rave reviews
July 13, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Mark Strotman

The top player in a respective recruiting class is always a priority among the best collegiate programs in the country. Like Austin Rivers (Duke), Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA) and Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), the best of the best hold out hope that each five-star program changer will choose their program. And when that top player in a class has a 6-foot-10, 280-pound frame and one of the most complete skill sets of any recruit this decade, the list of suitors only increases that much more.

[RELATED: Eight from Illinois in Rivals' 2013 Top 150]

That's what Whitney Young's Jahlil Okafaor is going through right now. The top recruit in the 2014 class, per, has been atop those rankings for quite a while but has seen his stock increase even further with his recent play with the U-19 USA basketball team and the Nike Peach Jam. It even prompted Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski to tweet this early Friday morning:


Earlier this month Okafor was named to the All-Tournament team at the U-19 World Championship. Playing with athletes two years older than him -- incoming college freshmen -- Okafor dominated the competition, going for a team-high 12 points and eight rebounds in the gold medal game. He continued his stellar play at the Nike Peach Jam, going on this weekend, playing for Mac Irvin Fire. It's high praise, considering Wojnarowski's scout has seen the likes of Dwight Howard, Greg Oden and Tim Duncan pass through, but Okafor's accolades speak for themselves.

[MORE: Okafor narrows list of schools]

In May he trimmed his list to eight schools -- Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State -- but the ultra-talented Okafor may make recruiting history for another reason. He and his good friend and No. 2 recruit in the 2014 class, point guard Tyus Jones, have gone on record as saying they would like to attend college together. It's an unprecedented action (if they go through with it) but would have a real impact on the 2015 college basketball season. Of Okafor's eight teams, Jones also lists Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State.

With Jabari Parker off to Duke -- the Blue Devils are considered the leader for Okafor -- the No. 1 player in the 2014 class will have his sights set on an Illinois state championship. Having Paul White (ranked No. 51 in the 2014 class) alongside will help, and as Okafor continues to produce on the court and ultimately chooses a school, his name will be brought up in conversation plenty over the next few years.