As a top prep basketball prospect Jahlil Okafor is many things. He’s a dominant shot blocker, using his 6-foot-11 frame to intimidate opponents who venture into the paint. He’s a commanding rebounder, averaging nine per game in the early 2012 season (though he has had more notable rebound totals in the past). Yet, in the first four games of the 2012-13 season, the most notable aspect of Okafor’s talent is that he has become an absolute dunk monster.
With most of his dunks featured in the highlight video you see directly above, it’s not hard to tell why Okafor has emerged as one of the nation’s pre-eminent prep dunkers. He can dunk from practically any position in the paint, from any angle. He can elevate on the break and he can run over anyone in his way because, quite frankly, he’s significantly bigger than they are.
Still, the percentage of Okafor’s shots in his first four games that concluded with him physically throwing the ball through the hoop is pretty startling. According to videographer Scott Comeau, Okafor racked up 26 dunks in his first four games, all wins by Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young High. Over that four-game span, Okafor attempted 59 shots and made 46 of them.
Do the math and one learns that more than 50 percent of Okafor’s made field goals are dunks.
Of course, that statistic belies Okafor’s broad talent. The center is one of the best big-man prospects in Chicago, arguably ever. He has a well-rounded game that includes a short jumper and an ability to run the floor like few big men anywhere (as he showcases in Comeau’s highlight reel above).
Those skills will become more important at the next level, where Okafor could play for his pick of the metaphorical litter. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Ohio State’s Thad Matta have all watched Okafor in person this year.
Clearly, they see more talent than dunking ability alone, even if they are seeing a whole lot of dunking as well.
- Sports & Recreation