Jahlil Okafor, the top rated player in the Class of 2014, is down to eight schools and now that the July live period has come to a close the college basketball world is awaiting his college decision.
The decision of the Whitney Young (Ill.) 6-foot-11 center is made more important due to the package deal is rumored to be apart of along with five-star point guard Tyus Jones of Apple Valley High School (Minn.). Okafor had previously stated that there is a 99.9% chance the duo would commit to the same school. Jones has said in the past he wants to make his decision around November, however Okafor’s father Chuck told the ChicagoSun-Timesthat his son has no timetable to make a commitment.
“We don’t really have a set timeline,” Chuck Okafor told Michael O’Brien of the Sun-Times on Tuesday. “I think the boys would like to do it soon, but there is no way you can set a timeline right now it’s wishful thinking. I know they both would like to. The media is funny. Everyone sees one thing and writes something, puts it on their own pay site and runs with it.”
Okafor and Jones share six similar schools on their respective lists — Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State. Top-20 recruit Justise Winslow has also been linked to be part of a package deal with Okafor and Jones.
“At this point I don’t see why it would change,” Chuck Okafor said of the promise between Okafor and Jones. “Could it change? Possibly. Do I see it happening? I don’t know. It is two different people, two different cities. They are loyal to each other. They are steadfast and they have a great idea what they are going to do together at the next level.”
Chuck Okafor told the Sun-Times that his son and Jones have no idea where they are going at this point, refuting any notion that there is a perceived favorite.
“I don’t know what Jahlil and Tyus are gonna do at this point, so for anyone else to say they do is far-fetched,” he said. “They are still at a standstill.”
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.