College Basketball Recruiting: Amile Jefferson Analyzing Possible Commitments

Bob Bajek@bobbajekAnalyst IIIMarch 28, 2012

College Basketball Recruiting: Amile Jefferson Analyzing Possible Commitments

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    Amile Jefferson is one of the best recruits in America, but the stellar forward still is undecided.

    Standing at 6'9" and weighing 205 pounds, Jefferson can play either small forward or power forward really well on both ends of the floor. That unique skill set puts him ahead of many forwards talent wise, which will make him successful at the college level.

    Jefferson, who attends Friends Central in Philadelphia, is ranked the 18th top college prospect according to ESPN. Jefferson said he wants to add muscle and improve his outside jumper as a college baller.

    A McDonald's All-American and Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania, Jefferson had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and almost three blocks per game in his senior season.

    Villanova, Kentucky, Ohio State, Duke and North Carolina State are all in the mix for Jefferson.

    Here's an analysis of Jefferson's possible destination using his own words.


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    Villanova could use another big man in Amile Jefferson.

    The Wildcats have just four forwards on the team with Maurice Sutton and Mouphtaou Yarou going into their senior years.

    Going to the Wildcats would provide Jefferson with a good opportunity to get some playing time right away as Villanova is thin in the frontcourt.

    “Villanova is a local school, so if I decide to stay home, that would be a great choice,” Jefferson said.

    Other notable signing by Villanova are center Daniel Ochefu (No. 54) and point guard Ryan Arcidiacono (No. 46). The Wildcats are also going after shooting guard Torian Graham (No. 81).

    Jefferson still hasn't visited the campus, and this might be an outside shot.

Ohio State

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes are most likely going to lose a dominant big man in Jared Sullinger to the NBA draft, so getting Amile Jefferson would be a good move.

    Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta has helped develop Sullinger and Greg Oden (too bad he can't stay healthy) into top NBA prospects and runs an efficient program where academics and athletics are both stressed.

    A key recruit who might sign with the Buckeyes include McDonald's All-American center Tony Parker (No. 21).

    Jefferson had this to say about Matta.

    "With Ohio State, Coach Matta is a great recruiter,” Jefferson said. “The time that I’ve spent with him has been great.”

    Despite his fondness for Matta, Jefferson might have better options elsewhere.


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    The Kentucky Wildcats get a lot of amazingly talented players year in and year out, so that's a very attractive quality for a top recruit like Amile Jefferson to consider. 

    Just now, they signed small forward Alex Poythress (No. 16) and shooting guard Archie Goodwin (No. 15), both McDonald's All-Americans. The Wildcats also signed center Willie Cauley (No. 40) and are after the other top national recruit in center Nerlens Noel. 

    Big man Anthony Davis is off to the NBA, and there is a good chance Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will join him in the draft.

    This is Jefferson's take on Kentucky.

    “I’m also thinking about Kentucky,” Jefferson said. “What Coach John Calipari and his assistants do with those young players to get them ready as freshmen without a lot of seniors is amazing.”

    While Kentucky is a top program, it would be difficult for him to get some playing time as a big.


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    Duke is one of Amile Jefferson's better options, and it seems he is more open to signing with them.

    Fellow McDonald's All-American Rasheed Sulaimon (No. 14) is a Duke signee who is extremely enthusiastic of his school.

    He and Jefferson are really good friends.

    “I definitely talked to Rasheed,” Jefferson said.  “When I took an unofficial visit, Rasheed was there. He is a great guy too. Duke recruits great kids. He’s a good friend of mine and I definitely have talked to him about the system and coach Mike Krzyzewski. We always talk about things like that.”

    Sulaimon, who is actively trying to persuade the nation's top recruit Shabazz Muhammad to become a Blue Devil, also would be excited if Jefferson signed.

    "Amile is a very versatile player," Sulaimon said. "I think he could help us out a lot at Duke. If all three of us (Muhammad and Jefferson) go, we'll do some great things. I've been in Amile's ear constantly and just trying to get him to come down with me." 

    Duke is also recruiting fellow McDonald's All-Americans Tony Parker (No. 21) and Shabazz Muhammad (No. 1).

    With a good friend on the squad and solid recruits, Duke has a good chance of landing Jefferson.

NC State

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    Another school with a solid chance of inking Amile Jefferson is North Carolina State.

    The Wolfpack have signed three McDonald's All-Americans already in point guard Tyler Lewis (No. 44), small forward T.J. Warren (No. 29) and shooting guard Rodney Purvis.

    All three recruits are playing with Jefferson on the East Team, giving them all time to bond and learn how to play with each other. 

    “They are not putting any pressure,” Amile said. “If I do decide to go to NC State, I think it would be a great choice. They are all great guys. Rodney has been my roommate four times this summer and now (in the McDonald’s All-American Game). Building a bond with him has been great.

    “I could definitely see myself playing with T.J. and Tyler are the same; they are all great kids,” Amile continued. “When you could play with people who you like off the court just as much on the court, it always leads to good things.”

    Jefferson added how Purvis liked Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried and the techniques used in player development, noting how North Carolina State made the Sweet 16 in Gottfried's first year. 

    Plus, North Carolina State has four bigs who will be seniors next year. 

    Jefferson thinks that NC State is doing a great job at recruiting, even giving UNC a run for its money.

    “Their coaching staff with assistants like Rob Moxley is amazing,” Jefferson said. “The fan base and the support they have is great. You can tell that they want to win. Those fans are so into it, especially on social media. It’s a great place to be and a great place to be right now.”

     Jefferson would not only have playing time with the Wolfpack, but he would get top perform with three friends. NC State has a very good shot to land Jefferson.

    Bob Bajek is a Chicago Bulls/NBA Featured Columnist. He is also covering the McDonald's All-American Game on site in Chicago. He is a freelance reporter and can be followed on and Twitter.