Beach Ball Classic Basketball

2014 5-star center Jahlil Okafor reveals list of ‘final 8’ schools


Just over a year from now elite 2014 center Jahlil Okafor will be one of the best incoming freshmen in college basketball, meaning that his already-hot recruitment will heat up even more in the coming months.

On Wednesday afternoon the Chicago native (Whitney Young HS) released a list of the final eight schools in contention for his services via Twitter.

The 6-11 center has been a bit banged up this spring, which has cut down on the number of games he’s played for the Mac Irvin Fire AAU program in Nike EYBL action.

But that lack of activity hasn’t diminished his skill level or the belief that Okafor will have a major impact on whichever school he chooses to attend. In a story done by Andrew Slater of Blue Devil Lair, famed scout Tom Konchalski was one of many who spoke glowingly of Okafor.

“He has a big, strong frame. He has a superior basketball IQ for a big man. Usually big, young guys don’t understand the game as well as he does. He’s very intelligent and a nice guy who can be, because of his size, he can be down the road, you know, I’m not saying he’s more skilled than Jabari Parker, but because he’s 6’10”, 260 or 270 or whatever he is, I think he can be an even greater influence on the game than Jabari Parker.”

Next month Okafor will take part in tryouts for USA Basketball’s Under-19 team, which will compete in the U-19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. The World Championships tip off on June 27.

As a member of the U-17 team last summer Okafor helped lead the United States to gold in the U-17 World Championships with averages of 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest, earning tournament MVP honors.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

Leave a comment

Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
Leave a comment

Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.