Duke lands Okafor, Jones

Nov. 15, 2013 @ 04:17 PM

Duke’s recruiting class received the major boost the Blue Devils sought Friday when center Jahlil Okafor and point guard Tyus Jones committed to play for Duke next season.

The 6-10, 280-pound Okafor, from Chicago’s Whitney Young High School, and the 6-1 Jones, from Apple Valley High outside Minneapolis, had made it clear during the recruiting process that they would attend the same school as a package deal.

They narrowed their choices to Duke, Baylor and Kansas before making simultaneous announcements, both televised by ESPNU, at their high schools on Friday.

“With Duke, I felt more comfortable going to play for the winningest coach in college basketball,” Okafor said of signing with coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils.

Okafor is considered the No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2014 by the various recruiting services. Jones is rated anywhere from No. 2 to No. 5 in the class.

“He is extremely poised and extremely mature,” ESPN analyst Jay Williams, the former Duke All-American guard, said of Jones. “The thing I like about him is he runs the team.”

Okafor and Jones join Grayson Allen, a 6-3 shooting guard from Providence Christian High School in Riverview, Fla., in Duke’s recruiting class that will jump to the top of the national rankings. Allen committed to play for Duke in August.  

Jones and Okafor have been friends since the third grade. They rekindled their friendship while playing with USA Basketball overseas as freshmen and sophomores.

“He is like my best friend,” Okafor said. “He is like a brother to me. You take basketball out of the equation and he’s still somebody I would like to go to college with.”