Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor to declare for NBA draft
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Jahlil and he has earned it," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. "Obviously, he has done an incredible job here at Duke and he will always be a part of our Duke basketball family. We could not be happier for he and his family."
Okafor averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game this season and helped lead Duke to a national championship. He was ranked No. 1 by SI's Chris Mannix on his most recent NBA Big Board.
"Okafor has been feeling some heat from [Kentucky's Karl-Anthony] Towns and the fast-rising [Ohio State freshman D'Angelo] Russell, but just like in October, his hold on the top spot remains solid," Mannix wrote. "Okafor shook off a sluggish start to March with a 28-point, eight-rebound effort in Duke’s loss to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament. He continues to impress scouts with his play in the post and with his defense, and while still rough around the edges, he has improved as the season has progressed."
Okafor and Towns are widely regarded as the top two prospects in this year's draft class. Towns and six of his teammates announced Thursday they will declare for the draft.
- Dan Gartland