Jahlil Okafor may be the top basketball prospect from the class of 2014, but that hasn’t stopped just about every big name college coach in the nation mispronouncing his name.
Okafor, predicted as an NBA franchise changing big man, spoke to USA Today about his name.
“I mean, most people pronounce my name wrong in general,” Okafor told USA Today recently. “But it’s even funnier when a coach that wants me to come to play for him in college says it wrong.”
Pronounced Jah-LEEL, Okafor doesn’t take much offense even when high profile coaches keep making the same mistake.
“It’s funny because I’ll be talking to a legend like [Michigan State Coach Tom] Izzo or somebody and they might say it wrong and, I mean, what am I gonna say? They’re legends,” Okafor continued. “It doesn’t bother me at all. I’m used to it. I’ve got family who says it wrong. I will say that I do notice when coaches get it right. Which almost never happens.”
“Coach (John) Groce from Illinois says it right,” Okafor said. “I don’t think anyone else does. Not 100 percent sure. But hey, it’s cool. It’s not like I look at them different or I’m gonna cut them off my list for it. I just like when people say it right.”
Okafor, a superb 6-foot-10 center, is set to wow the college world in the not-so-distant future, but must first complete his senior year of high school. Yet to make a college decision, Okafor can expect similar attention to what No.1 2013 recruit, Andrew Wiggins, received in the past year.