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November 11, 2013
Okafor to choose on Friday
College Basketball's early signing period begins this Wednesday. The real fireworks, though, will be saved for Friday when three of the nation's top five seniors -- Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Tyus Jones -- announce their decisions at roughly the same time.
Until then, though, get ready for the rumors to fly at a fast and furious pace.
The No. 1 player in the country, Okafor tweeted Monday night that he will make his announcement at 3 p.m. Central on Friday at his high school. The 6-foot-11 center at Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young is down to Baylor, Duke and Kansas with the Blue Devils and Jayhawks considered to the two with the best chance of landing his signature.
Of late, there has been a lot of chatter coming from people on the scene in Chicago that the Jayhawks could hold a slight edge for Okafor's services. However, the prevailing national opinion is that the Blue Devils are the team to beat.
Also tweeting Monday night that he would announce at his high school at 3 p.m. Central on Friday is the guy that Okafor has long discussed attending school with, Jones.
The No. 5 overall player in the land, the 6-foot-1 point guard from Apple Valley (Minn.) High took visits with Okafor to Baylor, Duke and Kansas. Throughout most of the recruiting process, the Blue Devils have been considered the team to beat for Jones. Further, the thought has been that if the two are going to end up a package deal it most likely ends up in Durham because of Jones' reputed lean towards Duke.
Finally there is the No. 4 player in the country, Alexander. The 6-foot-9 power forward at Chicago (Ill.) Curie has long intended to announce on Friday.
Like Okafor and Jones, the current plan is for him to announce sometime around 3 p.m. Central. Alexander's final four are DePaul, Kansas, Illinois and Memphis. After the Jayhawks had the most buzz coming out of the summer and through the early fall, momentum over the past few weeks has steadily been building and suggesting that Alexander would head downstate to play for the Illini. On Monday, though, DePaul rumors started to float around.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that three recruitments the nature of Okafor, Jones and Alexander would generate a lot of interest. However, with none of the three -- or those in their immediate circles -- giving out any real hints about their final destination the rumors have almost taken on a life of their own because that's what happens with big time recruitments.
What is most likely is that each of these guys knows exactly where they are headed -- Okafor's father confirmed to the Chicago Tribune on Monday night that his son has decided on a school -- and that things aren't likely to change between now and Friday.
But, as long as they keep the information faucets shut off down the home stretch their destinations and who has the behind the scenes buzz will shift over the next four days as the rumor mill shifts into hyper drive leading up to 3 p.m. on Friday.