In a recent interview with HOOPSWORLD, Jahlil Okafor, the No. 1 prospect from the class of 2014, claimed he dominated Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter in a match up last summer.
Okafor believes he could hang with the pros now, as a 17-year-old, based on a performance he allegedly produced last offseason.
“I would like to think that,” Okafor said when asked if he could play in the NBA right now. “I’ve actually had the [opportunity] to play against a professional basketball player. I played against [Utah Jazz center] Enes Kanter. He came to my school over the summer and I actually dominated him. Then, I found out that he had been the number three draft pick. I spoke with his trainer and he was like, ‘You dominated my kid,’ and he was telling me how he thinks I’m going to be special and stuff like that.”
“I’ve heard from a couple college coaches that think I could be productive at the NBA level [right now], but it’s so hard for me to tell since I’ve never experienced a game at the NBA level or at NBA speed.”
As hard as Okafor’s comments may be for some basketball purists to digest, the kid has game and the potential to revolutionize the center position.
Versatility is maybe the most impressive attribute to Okafor’s game. Many NBA All-Star centers take years of development to reach a level of stardom, however, Okafor is years ahead of where he should be. He has the athleticism comparable to some of the league’s best at his size (6-foot-11, 280 pounds), however, his footwork and fundamentals are just as impressive.
Okafor is at least two years away from being able to make his stamp on the NBA, so in the meantime we’ll just have to make do with the likes of Kosta Kofus and Chris Andersen holding down the middle for our favorite teams.