Two of the top three players in the 2014 class reside in Big Ten country. Jahlil Okafor (no. 1) reigns from Chicago, while Tyus Jones (no. 3) is from Minnesota. Both of these players have spoken about how much they would love to play together in college. Jones has been known to be recruiting fellow big time 2014 prospects to possibly team up with him at the next level. Well, there are no bigger targets to team up with (literally, as Okafor is 6-foot-10 and 280 pounds) than the top player in the country. Okafor has even claimed that there is a 99.9% chance the two will play together in college. So, it appears that one school will make a huge splash, as getting one of these players means getting both of them.
Both Jones and Okafor have released a list of their current top schools, Okafor having eight, while Jones just seven potential landing spots. Not surprisingly, both lists look very similar, as Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State are the six schools that appear on both. It doesn’t take much inside knowledge to see that Okafor and Jones will most likely attend one of those six schools.
Michigan State and Ohio State are the lone Big 10 schools on both lists, placing both with a huge, program changing opportunity to land two of the top three prospects in America. Both schools are consistently at the top of the Big 10 standings. These elite national forces have big time head coaches with great records and national respect and have had experience with star players before. If Jones and Okafor want to be one-and-done players and leave college with high NBA stock, Michigan State and Ohio State would both be great choices.
For the schools, landing these players would be massive. A single top-five recruit can mean huge things for a program. But getting two of the top-three players in a single class means immediate success and attention and it would create a reputation for the basketball program as one that attracts stars for years to come.
Now, there is still a lot of time left in the recruitment of Okafor and Jones. Things change quickly, especially with young high school players. One year from now, both players could be heading to a different school, maybe one not even on their lists and maybe not even together. But for the Buckeyes and Spartans to get their foot in the door for a possible program changing splash is huge.
You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter at @alexdalecbb.