Okafor leads loaded Adidas Nations
August, 5, 2013
By Dave Telep | ESPN Insider
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- When you break down the rosters for the 2013 Adidas Nations, you have to be pretty happy with the results.
For example, in Monday night’s championship game (9 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN), 19 of the 22 players on the two rosters are ESPN 100 prospects -- and five are in the top 10. And in the third-place game (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN), nine of the 12 U.S. players are in the ESPN 60 and another is ranked in the ESPN 25.
Talent-wise, this is a heckuva cherry on top of the month of July.
Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young), the nation’s No. 1 player, looks great. He’s in the best shape of his basketball life as far as I can tell. The conditioning came courtesy of a heart to heart with USA Basketball coaches Billy Donovan and Shaka Smart. “They sat down and told me about my diet,” Okafor said. While he hasn’t lost weight (he stands 6-foot-10 and weighs 270) you can see the results in his body and with his bounce.
Jeff Hinds/adidasNo. 1 recruit Jahlil Okafor has an official visit planned to Baylor and said Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona will also likely get visits.
On Sunday night at Adidas Nations, there was a post drive, a lefty finish and -- brace yourself -- the quick feet of a ballerina. Okafor can simply move better now. It’s a good look for the most mature post player in the Class of 2014. He takes the court with confidence, knows who he is and punches the clock. There isn’t a better option for success in the paint right now than Okafor, and he’s playing that way.
No wonder he’s such a highly sought-after prospect. So where do things stand in his recruitment?