Jahlil Okafor has looked locked in so far this season, and he made me look wiser than actually am last Thursday when Whitney Young (IL) overcame Apple Valley (IL). That was my predicted result, but cannot take full credit for it, because it was mainly due to Okafor’s effort on the low block.
If you missed the recent Chicago Magazine piece on Okafor where the young center tells the tragic story (for the first time to the public) of his mother’s death at an untimely age, then you can check it out below and highly recommend not reading this when you are already in a down mood.
— Carl Bleich (@CarlBleich) December 20, 2013
It is quite a sad, but also moving tale when you see where Jahlil has progressed to. He was so close to his mother, and found the section below quite stirring about the way he would watch her play basketball.
“Whenever I saw her, I would give her a big hug,” Okafor said to Chicago Magazine. “She would take me to the basketball court and I would watch her play. She was very strict. She would stress to me being respectful of women. People always credit me for being nice to people, but that was all due to her. She was also really funny, a big jokester.”
Her son is less of the jokester, but he has the intensity and strictness on the court to make serious things happen. Okafor’s squad was knocked out of the state playoffs the last three seasons by Jabari Parker and Simeon Academy (IL), but they are no longer in the way which makes the Dolphins my favorite to take state this year. They won the city championship last season, but their season ultimately ended in disappointment to the Wolverines. We will have to see if they can make a different result happen this time around.