Last night, Jason Jordan of USA Today broke the news that Kentucky had extended an offer to 2014 center Jahlil Okafor after watching him work out at his high school, Whitney Young in Chicago. College coaches had previously been unable to visit Chicago-area underclassmen due to the area's teachers strike, which ended yesterday. Only high school seniors are allowed to host coaches in-home; juniors and below must meet college coaches at school.
Okafor is one of three consensus top-10 overall center prospects in the 2014 class. Cliff Alexander, also from the Chicago area, already has an offer. The third, Dakari Johnson, does not yet have an official offer from Kentucky. However, the Wildcats are very familiar with Johnson. As a freshman, Johnson played alongside former Cat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick. It would not be a surprise if Johnson received an official offer in the near future.
John Calipari came out to Whitney Young today to see 2014 center Jahlil Okafor (@jahprobound) and extended an official offer.— Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) September 19, 2012
In the summer, it appeared that Kentucky would focus more on Alexander and Johnson rather than pursue Okafor, since the talented center already has long-standing relationships with powerhouse programs like Michigan State, Duke, and North Carolina. That apparently will not be the case.
To add further intrigue, Okafor is reportedly close to five-star point guard Tyus Jones from Apple Valley, MN. Like Okafor, Jones did not appear to be on Kentucky's radar until Calipari swooped in to extend an offer earlier this summer. There is preliminary speculation that Okafor and Jones will be a "package deal," an expectation that rarely pans out.
Still, with three legitimately elite center options in the 2014 class, it appears that Calipari has cast all the players onto his canvas. Despite Okafor's existing relationships, he and his coach insist that Calipari will get every opportunity to impress the young man.