As you settle into your couches this week to finally watch some meaningful football, don’t forget that the college basketball season is right around the corner.
While we still have to wait for the on-court action that we all love, coaches are busy trying to secure the future of their programs on the recruiting trail. There are still plenty of uncommitted potential stars on the market as the blueblood teams across the country battle for their services.
The major plot point in the Jahlil Okafor recruitment tale hasn’t changed—he and point guard Tyus Jones continue to insist that they want to play together in college, which will make one lucky program very happy in the future.
Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Ohio State, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State are all listed as potential destinations, but Okafor only has five official visits scheduled. The Bears (this weekend), Wildcats (Kentucky and Arizona), Jayhawks and Blue Devils make the visit itinerary.
Interestingly enough, Jones will be accompanying Okafor to Baylor, Kansas and Duke. Given that the two would like to play together that has to be a promising sign for those three, and Duke is widely considered the favorite.
For what it’s worth, Okafor’s father is not pleased with the assumption that Jones and his son are considered locks for the Blue Devils and insists that the process has to play out.
All signs are pointing in the right direction for the Kansas Jayhawks when it comes to landing the services of Myles Turner.
While Bill Self will be battling the likes of Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas for the big man, Turner’s only official visit is to Kansas on Oct. 4. That just so happens to be the date of the Jayhawks’ “midnight madness” event, and the combination of the excitement surrounding that and Kansas’ storied history may just be too much for the other schools to overcome.
But the most interesting tidbit of the post was that Turner said he plans to take all his visits, but he’s not sure if it will happen. He referenced plenty of times in the past when top-notch recruits are blown away on their first visit and commit on the spot.
Which would be welcome news for Kansas fans.
The updates on Jahlil Okafor’s recruiting process basically apply to Tyus Jones as well.
What may arguably be the best potential package deal in terms of centers and point guards since Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., Okafor and Jones are probably going to make one of the richest programs in college basketball even richer by committing to the same school.
Jones will be visiting Baylor this weekend with Okafor, Kentucky, Kansas and Duke. Both players are visiting Kentucky, but at separate times. There may not be much to read into that other than scheduling conflicts considering Jones’ other three trips will be with Okafor.
It would be a shocking upset at this point if the two superstars in the making ended up at different schools.
The 2014 recruiting class is loaded with big men, and Cliff Alexander is not to be overlooked.
Arizona, Baylor, DePaul, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis and Michigan State are all listed as schools of interest, but, per reports Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas are considered the favorites at this point.
It is worth noting that his girlfriend is a freshman on the Jayhawks’ women’s basketball team, which would certainly play a role in a decision like this for any high school student. Alexander’s high school coach Mike Oliver called the notion of Alexander being a lock for Kansas just a rumor though.
Oliver also pointed out that Alexander talks about Michigan State and Tom Izzo all the time.
If Kentucky is going to need a small forward next year with potential NBA departures, Stanley Johnson may just be the man.
Johnson reportedly talks to John Calipari on a weekly basis and remains the No. 1 priority at the small forward position despite other outstanding offers. While the Wildcats are not the only school in on Johnson, they are the heavy favorites right now and could receive a verbal pledge by as early as December.
Johnson also has official visits planned at Arizona and Florida, along with an unofficial visit to Southern California and potential trips to Kansas, Oregon and UCLA. But it is Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness that will probably have a lasting impact on Johnson when he visits Lexington.
Follow and interact with college basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.