Souhan: Duke recruits Jones, Okafor put on quite a show

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2013 - 2:54 PM

Longtime friends Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor displayed their immense skills before becoming college teammates.

Tyus Jones made it all happen, with his no-look, gotta-watch passes.

His skill brought Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to Minnesota on a cold December night.

His friendship with Jahlil Okafor, the star center for Chicago’s Whitney Young High School, led to a game against Okafor’s team at Apple Valley High.

Jones’ development into the best high school point guard in the nation enticed ESPN2 to make Thursday’s game the first Minnesota high school basketball game televised nationally.

Jones made it all happen, everything but a victory that would have given him temporary bragging rights over his buddy, as Apple Valley lost to Young 80-70 in front of a sellout crowd.

Within that loss was the stuff of dreams, for Krzyzewski and Minnesotans who will follow Jones’ career.

Next year, Jones and Okafor, who says they are best friends, will play together at Duke. Jones, Okafor and Krzyzewski probably spent the night imagining Jones’ deft passes landing the large hands of Okafor, who scored most of his 22 points on emphatic dunks.

“Those two are going to be a treat next year,” Apple Valley coach Zach Goring said. “They’re perfect for each other. Some of those alley-oops to Jahlil were unbelievable.”

“I’ve been dreaming about those since we decided to go to college together,” Okafor said.

Jones is the classic pass-first point guard, and Okafor is the stereotypical powerful post, but both are talented enough to adapt to other roles.

Jones spent most of the first half looking for his teammates. He had four points at intermission, so Goring decided to use Jones’ little brother, eighth-grader Tre, as the point guard in the second half, allowing Jones to try to crack Young’s Syracuse-like 2-3 zone from the paint.

The result: 25 second-half points for Jones, who finished with 29 points, five rebounds and six assists.

The 6-10 Okafor produced 22 points and 15 rebounds, and even dribbled between his legs while leading a fast break.

“It was extremely fun,” Tyus Jones said. “We had a great environment and atmosphere. The fans were great tonight. So I just want to thank them. Our team played hard. It was just a fun experience for us all.”

Krzyzewski declined an interview request, saying, “This is their night.” He sat courtside and often looked as animated when Okafor fell or Jones scored as he does on the sideline at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He’ll be the beneficiary of his recruits’ friendship.

They committed to Duke simultaneously, on split screens. They planned to dine together with their families Thursday night.

“I think it’s just through basketball,” Okafor said about the friendship. “I’ve known him since the third grade, and we’re so similar off the court. He’s a pretty quiet kid. He’s my best friend.”

Befitting their relationship, the game was frequently spectacular and never contentious. The future Dukies didn’t speak much on the court, except in the language of one-upsmanship.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Prep basketball: Whitney Young 80, Applly Valley 70

    Thursday December 12, 2013

    The Chicago school beat Apple Valley 80-70 on Thursday in a game of future Duke teammates.

  • Dec. 11 boys' basketball rankings

    Wednesday December 11, 2013

    Dec. 11 rankings provided by the Minnesota Basketball News

  • Thursday's boys' basketball roundup

    Friday December 13, 2013

    Read full story for latest details.

  • The dynamic recruiting duo — Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones and Chicago Whitney Young’s Jahlil Okafor — squared off Thursday, with Okafor’s team pulling out an 80-70 win.

  • Coach Mike Krzyzewski got a glimpse of Duke’s future by watching Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor.

  • Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski talked after the game with Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones, one of his prized recruits.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 92 4th Qtr 3:03
Denver 92
Indiana 95 4th Qtr 0:49
LA Clippers 99
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
UNLV 75
CS-Northridge 52 2nd Half 3:19
Oregon 76
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close