2013 FIBA U19 World Championship Interviews: Okafor, Lyles, Gordon July 7, 2013
[Read Full Article] USA Basketball U19 World Championship Training Camp Report, Part Two June 19, 2013 Going up against players nearly two years older than him, Jahlil Okafor didn't look out of place for a single moment here in Colorado Springs, showing that his terrific skill-level, basketball IQ and maturity would make him a devastating force at the college level already next year if he were eligible.
Okafor established position inside the paint at will thanks to his massive frame, and then unleashed a barrage of phenomenal post moves time after time to score points virtually whenever he pleased. He drew fouls at a steady rate simply by catching the ball and being aggressive, being very difficult to contain thanks to his unique combination of power, finesse and smarts. His arsenal includes a variety drop-steps, spin-moves, up and unders and jump-hooks with either hand, as he was clearly the most fundamentally sound post-player in attendance despite only just having completed his high school senior year.
Not just a brute force with his back to the basket, Okafor can also operate in the mid-post as well, showing the ability to create his own shot off the dribble with a strong first step, great patience, outstanding footwork and soft touch around the basket.
In addition to his excellent skill-level, Okafor impresses with his willingness to play inside, not being afraid of playing through contact with the older players here in Colorado Springs. He clearly realizes what his strengths are and didn't shy away from banging inside even when things got very physical inside the paint, which is a good sign for his transition from high school to college and eventually the NBA.
Defensively, Okafor is a major presence inside thanks to his terrific frame and 7-3 wingspan, but his lack of experience shows much more on this end of the floor than it does offensively. He has a difficult time stepping out onto the perimeter due to his average lateral quickness, and isn't much of a rim protector as he does not possess tremendous explosiveness rotating over from the weak-side. He is a very good rebounder, though, doing a nice job cleaning up the glass on both ends of the floor.
Okafor appeared to be a lock to make the team from the very first moment he stepped on the floor thanks to his advanced skill-set and feel for the game, as he's simply a game-changer inside the paint that very few international teams will have an answer for. The US squad will likely look to utilize him heavily every time he steps on the floor, and he'll surely play a major role in any success this team has. [Read Full Article]
High School Class of 2014: Elite Prospect Scouting Reports, Part One September 27, 2012 Jonathan Givony
-6-10 in shoes with a 7-3 wingspan
-Massive frame. 272 pounds, but looks to be in good shape physically
-Huge, soft hands. Palms ball like a grapefruit
-Very comfortable operating with back to the basket
-Excellent footwork and a natural feel for posting up and taking what the defender gives him
-Great body control and an array of spin moves
-Establishes position inside with ease
-Catches everything that is thrown to him
-A magnet for drawing fouls
-Finishes with either hand
-Tremendous offensive rebounder. Terrific length. Gives multiple efforts on the glass. Catches anything in his area
-Very good basketball IQ for his age
-Seems very grounded and well spoken off the court
-Incredibly young. Won't turn 17 until December
-With his body type, conditioning could be an issue in the future
-Good, not incredible athlete. Must continue to work on becoming more explosive
-Needs to improve free throw shooting
-Didn't log a single assist in eight games at the FIBA U17 World Championship. Only recorded six assists in 19 EYBL games
-Relatively untested defensively. Can he handle other players his size?
Outlook: Extremely poised young big man with tremendous size, length and strength. Has no qualms about playing inside. Very difficult to contain with his physical tools, skill-level and basketball IQ. A bigger version of Jared Sullinger? Still only 16 years old.