Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo checked in with two of the top recruits in the nation in 2013 small forward Jabari Parker and 2014 center Jahlil Okafor. Both recruits are top Duke Blue Devils targets and both of them play in the great hoops city of Chicago. Parker was cleared to play after a foot injury for Simeon High, and Izzo was in attendance to check out that game.
More importantly, he also got a chance to see Okafor light up N.C. State Wolfpack commit BeeJay Anya. Also a top recruit, Anya and DeMatha looked way out of their league against Okafor and Whitney Young. The 2014 center dropped 34 points on DeMatha and owned the boards with nine rebounds, while also holding down his friend Anya to just five points.
Arizona, Louisville, Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Kentucky, Ohio State, UNC, and even UCLA all have a good shot at landing Okafor, who is regarded as one of the three elite prospects in the 2014 class. At 6’11”, 270 pound, Okafor has a great combination of size and strength and absolutely owns the boards. He dominates the post and will be an elite post player at the collegiate level, especially with regards to pulling down rebounds.
Jabari Parker, meanwhile, is the second best recruit in the 2013 class behind newly re-classified star Andrew Wiggins. It looks like a two-team race at the top between Michigan State and Duke, but the Florida Gators are also heavily involved in Parker’s recruitment. Parker could also land at Stanford or BYU, but those are the only teams with a chance. He took official visits to Duke and MSU in October and is coming off of an official to BYU last week (he also had an official visit to UF in November).
The only visit that Okafor took in the months of October and November was to Durham to check out the Blue Devils. It looks like Michigan State, Kentucky, and Duke are three teams to watch for very closely in the 2014 center’s recruitment.
Whenever Tom Izzo takes a visit to Chicago, then it’s time for college basketball fans to take a close look. The Spartans really want to land a top piece in both of these upcoming recruiting classes, and Parker and Okafor fit that bill as top three recruits in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Izzo’s program is in a great standing with both recruits, and I bet he came away incredibly impressed with Okafor’s dominant effort against DeMatha.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.