Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones
SInce Okafor once stated in an interview that he is 99.9% sure that him and his long time best friend Tyus Jones will play in college together, where should these packaged Top 5 recruits go? The schools they share in common on their lists are Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas, Duke, Baylor and Ohio State. Which of those schools would be the best fit for Okafor and Jones?
Whoever lands them will have a new starting C and PG right there. And both of them should start right away even if one of those school's returning starting C or PG remains on the roster.
Ohio State: I never liked Amir Williams' game and always found him being overrated. Okafor would start at C over Williams no matter what and for the PG slot, Shannon Scott sounds like a 4 year guy to me but they could either have a duo PG backcourt like how they currently do with Craft and Scott or just start Jones over Scott.
Kentucky: For Kentucky their obviously gonna be loaded in 2014 no matter what. They have already signed Karl Towns and Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee are likely to not be one and done players. It also looks like Kyle Wiltjer might just stay at UK and redshirt next year. Okafor would start over all of those guys who I just mentioned no matter what, but he could still get less minutes having to share the frontcourt with Johnson, Towns, Lee and possibly Wiltjer. Also if Emmanuel Mudiay picks UK then I'm sure Jones would have no desire to compete with another PG on the same team so that would rule out UK if Mudiay commits to Kentucky before Okafor and Jones commit and if Okafor wants to play over 90% of almost every game.
Michigan State: With Branden Dawson and maybe Gary Harris potentially staying even another year after next year, Michigan State could potentially be the best fit for the Big 2. With Adreian Payne and Keith Appling graduating after next year, both Okafor and Jones would right away start and with two experienced sidekicks (Dawson and Harris if they stay), Michigan State would be an immediate championship contender. Plus it would be closer to home for both Okafor and Jones as it is almost in the middle of Illinois and Minnesota.
Duke: Next year, the Blue Devils will be hurting at the Center position down to Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee. If Coach K lands Okafor, that would solve to problem they will be facing next year for the 14-15 season. Jones picking Duke could also force Quinn Cook to come out after next year making Jones right away start at the PG slot. Then Duke will have plenty of Depth at the SG and forward positions with Rasheed Suliamon and Rodney Hood who could both stay after next year, Amile Jefferson, Alex Murphy, Marshall Plumlee Matt Jones, Semi Ojeleye and whoever else Duke lands from the 2014 class.
Baylor: I'm assuming Isaiah Austin will be gone after next year and they will also have no PG depth after next year as well. But there will not be as much talent left on the rest of the team other than Rico Gathers, Ishmail Wainwright and Allerik Freeman but that is nothing compared to the other schools I've mentioned. However they do have potential of landing other Top 2014 Recruits such as Cliff Alexander, Rashad Vaughn, Justise Winslow and Myles Turner. Unless they land some more recruits from next year's senior class, I do not think Baylor would be a very good fit for Okafor and Jones.
Kansas: No matter who else Kansas lands from the 2014 class, Kansas would be a great fit for the Big 2. We all know that Wiggins will be a one and done but they could still potentially have Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid. Even if Embiid stays, They could use Okafor and Embiid in the same frontcourt even if their both centers. Then they will also have Perry Ellis, Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp, Naadir Tharpe and Andrew White. With Kansas' recruiting success from last year, it could convince this year's recruits to have desire in playing for the Jayhawks.
But, from what I have heard, Duke is an overwhelming favorite. Would love to see them at Kansas or Michigan State, just would not be surprised if they pulled the trigger for Duke around summers end. Also, could really see Justise Winslow joining them, though I know he is big on Arizona as well. Cliff Alexander is another name that gets thrown around with Jahlil/Tyus, though I think he is favoring Michigan State and while I know they are still an option, just having a feeling Cliff heads to MSU while Tyus, Jahlil and maybe Justise end up at Duke.
Think that MSU or Kansas would be great fits for them. MSU would be losing Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, plus Tom Izzo is a great coach. Throw in Cliff Alexander, that is one rugged front court led by the top incoming "floor general" in Tyus Jones. Kansas also could more than likely use a true PG, while Jahlil and Joel Embiid would be a REAL intimidating front court on the size front (if Joel were to stay for his sophomore season, which is entirely possible as he is still VERY raw).
Duke will have Quinn Cook in his senior season, a bunch of great shooters and if this season is any indication, a desperate need for a big man in the middle. Tyus and Quinn could be interesting, Jones will play anywhere he goes and I doubt Quinn leaves early, though it is possible. Still, with Tyus Jones, Grayson Allen, Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor along with possibly Kevon Looney who I have heard is a Duke lean as well, that is a pretty beastly group. Do not see them going to Kentucky or Baylor, with Ohio State being a wildcard. I just figure they already have 4 recruits, plus with a couple possible early entries (LaQuinton Ross/Sam Thompson), they might be quite low on experience. I know it is cool to say where they "should" go, just would not be surprised if Duke is the place.
Any of those choices outside of Kentucky or Baylor.
I'd like to see them play under a good coach.
I'm a UK fan, but as much as I would like them to come to UK I don't want there to be a jam. I want them to go to Michigan State, because Tom Izzo is one of my favorite coaches and they would definitely make MSU one of the top championship contenders. Plus, Michigan State hasn't won a title in a while and I want Izzo to win another one.
As a Buckeye fan I would love to get Okafor. With that class already having great players and none of them being a big man I can see him really having a Sullinger type impact. Probably better than Sully though lol.
OSU 14 class includes ( rankings by ESPN)
#4 sg D'Angelo Russell
#6 sf Keita Bates-Diop
#7sf Jay' Sean Tate
Overall though I think these guys will choose Duke. Jones seems like that kind of pg that would fit well in the duke system.
Speaking of classes, that class you just listed is a pretty sick college class. Really good players, versatile and they're core guys who will stick for more than a yr. Russell is super versatile and long. I think he'll rise back up the rankings this yr as he'll be playing more point with Kasey Hill gone, showing point potential at 6'4-6'5 with super long arms. KBD is one of my sleepers for that class, smart, silky mid-range game, long arms and active. Jae'Sean Tate is tough as nails. He's a physical, bulldog of a wing with developing skills.
That'd be a nasty Fab 5 if Jones/Okafor would join. All 5 of them have mature games for their age.