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Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones commit to Duke

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USA Basketball

The single biggest recruiting haul in the Class of 2014 finally made the decision about where they are headed to play their college ball.

Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones are headed to Duke.

The story of the friendship between Jones and Okafor has been told over and over again. They met playing for Team USA’s U16 squad. They became became close off the court, which only made them play that much better together on the court. They decided they wanted to play their college ball together, eventually deciding on the school that was long considered their leader. 

Jones is a 6-foot point guard that is the definition of a “true” point guard. He’s got an uncanny ability to throw pinpoint passes regardless of their difficult, not only getting the ball to his teammates, but hitting them in the shooting pocket in a spot on the court that they can score. Jones also is terrific leading the screen and roll. He’s a throwback.

And so is Okafor, only he plays a very, very different position.

Okafor is a massive low-post scorer. He stands 6-foot-11 and checks in at about 270 pounds, but he’s nimble on his feet and can really score on the block. He’s a real, honest-to-goodness center, and that’s something you don’t see at any level these days, especially one this big and this polished at this young of an age.

Combined, these two are enough to make the Blue Devils a favorite to win the 2015 National Title.

Think about it like this: Duke just added a guy that will be one of the best big men in the country. They also happened to add a guy that may be the best distributor in the country. Now, if I had to make an assumption at this point, it would be that Duke loses two of Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon, with Hood and Parker the most likely duo to head to the league.

But that still means that Coach K will have Sulaimon, Matt Jones and Duke’s third freshmen, Grayson Allen, on the wins. And he’ll likely still have Amile Jefferson and Semi Ojeleye to play at the four alongside Okafor. That team would be good enough to compete for the ACC title right now, let alone in 12 months.

Okafor is the No. 1 recruit in the country, according to Rivals, and Jones is No. 5. Allen checks in at No. 34, which means that these commitments should slide Duke up to the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

Here is Rivals lead scout Eric Bossi’s take on Okafor: “Jahlil Okafor is one of the most skilled and poised back to the basket centers to come along in some time. He establishes and holds positions, finishes with either hand and is a great rebounder. Okafor isn’t a high flyer but fully understands how to use his skill and size advantage.”

And Jones: “Jones is a heady floor general and a tough competitor. He runs the show and is in total control of what is happening while he has the ball. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and shoots with accuracy. Jones isn’t the biggest or most explosive athlete but he has great body control and balance.”

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.