Two of high school basketball’s top juniors have mutual interest in teaming up in college. They even share a fondness for one school in particular.
Apple Valley (MN) point guard Tyus Jones and Chicago center Jahlil Okafor are especially drawn to Mike Krzyzewski and Duke, one recruiting source close to the two tells Busting Brackets. Jones and Okafor, who are close friends off the court, paid a visit to Duke’s “Countdown to Craziness”—the hoops team’s preseason pep rally—and were “blown away” by the experience.
“This recruitment isn’t closed by any means,” said the source. “Tyus and Jahlil are doing their due diligence and won’t rush a decision. They’re looking into all the schools on their list.”
The source continued: “But in talking to them, they were glowing about Duke in a way that was unlike their reaction to any other school.”
Jones, the No. 1 point guard in the class, trimmed his list to eight last month (Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State). Okafor’s list, meanwhile, is wide open, covering many of the same schools on Jones’ list on top of several others. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Ohio State are the five programs that appear on both lists.
Jones is very high on Minnesota (the in-state school), but if he and Okafor are serious about linking up in college—and they are—he’ll have to look in another direction. Okafor, per the source, is unlikely to add Minnesota to his list.
Michigan State, according to the source, is another major player in both recruitments. The Spartans have proximity working in their favor—both Jones and Okafor are from the Midwest—and have recruited the two phenoms as actively as any school. Ohio State is a distant third behind Duke and Michigan State in this derby, while Kentucky and North Carolina are long shots.
Jones and Okafor each plan to settle on a school before their senior year. Both juniors become eligible to take their five allotted official visits beginning January 1.