Tuesday night Kansas battled Jabari Parker and the Duke Blue Devils in the Champions Classic. However, the battle in Chicago was more than just a typical non-conference game. The Jayhawks and Blue Devils still have some battling to do in Chicago: This time it’s recruiting. Chicago is the hometown to up-and-coming greats Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander (pictured above). As Kansas and Duke stepped into the spotlight on Tuesday , Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, and Cliff Alexander step in to the spotlight today.
According to the ESPN100, Okafor is the number one player of the recruiting class for 2014. The 7ft 265lb Center is a man amongst boys at the high school level, and he is as much of a guarantee for success at the collegiate level as you’ll see. The talented high school senior has been targeted from a variety of schools including Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, and Kentucky. The current report has Duke the favorite for Okafor, who is packaged with star point guard Tyus Jones out of Apple Valley, Minnesota. Early speculation stated the two may be willing to split, but the package announced to reporter Jason Johnson of USA Today that they are “100%” on not separating. With all this speculation, who appears to be winning this recruiting war? Right now it seems to be the team that is the best fit for point guard Tyus Jones (pictured below), who will most likely lead in the decision making for the combo: Duke University.
Here’s something to consider in regards to who will land the duo. An interview of Cliff Alexander’s coach in Chicago, Mike Oliver, stated Cliff received visits from three of his four options over the past week; Kansas was the only one left out. Oliver stated that he felt Kansas had shifted their focus away from Alexander and more in the direction of the other Chicago native, Okafor. Oliver also added that the public of Chicago had a central view that Kansas was the frontrunner for the Okafor/Jones duo.
It was interesting to find the duo, plus Alexander, announcing the time of their announcement shortly before the tip. It is quite possible that Coach Self and Coach Krzyzewski each made a last minute push to Okafor. The buzz in Chicago currently has Kansas associated with Alexander, meaning that today has the potential to be legendary to the future of Kansas recruiting. However, we’re still asking ourselves on question: Who will land the overall number one recruit on Friday? Will Kansas fill the gap of one top recruit with another? The Jayhawks managed to steal the show away from the Blue Devils once already this week, but can they do it again? All questions answered will be today; be sure to check out the highly anticipated announcements on ESPNU.