Young's Okafor open to Illinois schools

Whitney Young (Chicago) center Jahlil Okafor, the nation’s No. 2-ranked junior, said

Wednesday his recruitment was open and would still consider in-state schools DePaul and Illinois.

Okafor, a 7-foot, 270-pound center, had made a number of unofficial visits, including to Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State and UCLA, but he doesn’t plan on cutting his list or committing anytime soon.

“I haven’t done a list,” Okafor said. “Illinois and DePaul have as much of a chance as anybody.”

Okafor’s father, Chukwudi, also confirmed that.

“Illinois has a shot,” Chukwudi said. “DePaul has a shot. (DePaul coach Oliver Purnell) is a good guy. Everybody has a shot. I wouldn’t cut any of them out. Illinois is going to have to work. We’re going to pay attention to them. It’s the home team. They’re doing good things.”

Two factors in Okafor’s recruitment will probably be playing with his friend and point guard Tyus Jones, the nation’s top-ranked junior, and being able to immediately compete for a national title.

Jones and Okafor have been talking about playing with each other in college for the past few years, and they keep in touch several times a week.

“First of all, it’s just our friendship, our brotherhood, we’re just close,” Okafor said of Jones. “It’s fun to go to battle with someone you’re so close with. He’s a floor general.”

Winning is also vital to Okafor.

“The ultimate goal for him is to put himself in the position to win a national championship,” Chukwudi said.

Okafor and his team begin their season against DeMatha (Maryland) and North Carolina State recruit BeeJay Anya, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound center, in the Chicago Elite Classic at UIC on Saturday.