Scouting the recruiting class of 2014
Jahlil Okafor: Okafor is the premiere player in the 2014 recruiting class. While Okafor may not have received the same amount of national praise as incoming freshman Jabari Parker, to whom he finished second to in the Illinois Mr. Basketbal voting, he’s still getting it done on the court. At 6-foot-11 and 270 pounds, Okafor possesses an NBA body that can bang with the big boys down low. He’s also received comparisons to the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan because of his strong mechanics in the post and a solid midrange jumper. Okafor is an all-state performer, a FIBA U17 World Championship gold medalist and MVP and a player that will make an immediate impact in college.
The competitors: Arizona, Baylor, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Tyus Jones: Pure point guards, acting more as floor generals than scorers, are hard to come by; that’s what Jones brings to the table. He has an uncanny ability to read what the defense sends his way, but his patience is what separates him from the rest of the pack. At 6-foot-1 and 171 pounds, Jones can slip through defenses with his speed and find the open man. He is a facilitator first and foremost, seeking to make his teammates better. Jones was the 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota and won two gold medals for the U16 and U17 FIBA World Championship teams.
The competitors: Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State.
Kevon Looney: Looney’s game can be defined in two words: no fear. The 6-foot-8, 190-pound power forward has a combination of speed and power that allows him to attack the rim at will. That tenacity may have been the story at the 2013 NBPA Top 100 Camp, where the Milwaukee native shined. Looney can also hurt you from the outside with a solid jumper from beyond the arc. Perhaps Looney’s most intriguing attribute is his length, specifically his 7-foot-1 wingspan. This wide array of skills makes Looney a matchup nightmare when he is at his best.
The competitors: Connecticut, Florida, Georgetown, Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA and Wisconsin.
Justise Winslow: Coming off of a junior season in which he averaged 28.6 points and 15.7 rebounds per game, Winslow plays bigger than his size what indicate. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds, the Houston native can hurt you in a variety of ways on both ends of the floor. The lefty’s athleticism allows for blocks on the defensive end and eye-popping dunks on the offensive end. Winslow’s play on both ends of the floor earned him the 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas and a spot on this year’s FIBA U19 World Championship team.
The competitors: Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Houston, Kansas, North Carolina, Stanford, Texas A&M and UCLA
Goodluck Okonoboh: Don’t let Okonoboh’s big smile fool you, he is an absolute beast under the basket. Considered by many to be the best shot-blocker in the Class of 2014, the Boston native possesses the tools to be a dominant force on the defensive end. Okonoboh’s 6-foot-9 frame also allows him to attack the glass on both sides of the court. His offensive game is primarily based on an isolation game on the block with solid finishing ability around the basket. Okonoboh’s size and defensive prowess make him a dangerous force in the paint.
The competitors: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Gonzaga, Indiana, Marquette, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Providence, Seton Hall and Syracuse.
Grayson Allen: Duke’s sole commit from the class of 2014 typifies everything you would expect from a Blue Devil guard. Allen has a silky smooth jumper from behind the arc, reminiscent of former Blue Devil great J.J. Redick, but scouts also describe him as a creative finisher because he can score in a variety of different ways. At 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, he also has the athleticism to throw down big time dunks in transition. What may separate Allen from other shooting guards is his IQ, both on the court and off, where he currently holds a flawless 4.0 GPA. A team player and a hard worker, Allen will fit in perfectly at Duke.
The competitors: None
Devin Booker: Physical abilities usually catapult recruits put into the upper echelon of their classes. However, for Booker, intangibles are key. The 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Mississippi has the game, as is evident by his 29.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game last season at Moss Point High School. However, Booker’s passion and basketball IQ are what have scouts talking. He most recently showcased his ability to hit the fadeaway jumper at the NBPA Top 100 camp this past June. That shooting ability and maturity on the court will make him a great pickup for any college.
The competitors: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina and Stanford.
Trey Lyles: College basketball has seen more and more athletic big men over the years, and Lyles is no exception. At 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, the rising senior can run pose a threat in the post. However, he has the full package on offense, with an ability to score on the block or behind the 3-point line. Lyles also has the athleticism to run the floor in a more fast-paced offensive scheme. His dynamic offensive game and agility make him a top recruit.
The competitors: Butler, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville and UCLA
Myles Turner: Building a championship team often starts from the inside. Turner is a unique top 10 recruit because of his 6-foot-10 frame, featuring a 7 foot, 2 inch wingspan, and his ability to run up and down the floor. The Texas native's size and athleticism make him a solid shot blocker and an excellent finisher around the basket. Turner also can shoot the jumper fairly consistently up to 19 feet away, which, considering his size, is a nice compliment to his low post game. Turner is also one of the fastest rising prospects his recruiting class. He was relatively unknown before his breakout performance at the NBPA Top 100 camp in June, and has since risen to No. 10 on ESPN's recruiting rankings. While he has yet to narrow down his list of schools to single digits, there's no question schools will be chasing down the coveted recruit for months to come.
The competitors: Currently lists 25 schools