Sunday Sit Down: Duke's Jahlil Okafor talks celebrity crush, NBA, more
An early favorite for national player of the year, Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor is expected to be a top pick in this year’s NBA draft. But who would Okafor take No. 1? Fresh off a 20-point, 10-rebound game in the Blue Devils’ 90-60 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, Okafor talked about that, and more, in this week’s Sunday Sit Down.
SI.com: Eight seconds left, game on the line. Which current college basketball player do you want taking the big shot? You can’t pick a teammate.
Jahlil Okafor: Tyler Ulis from Kentucky.
SI.com: Who do you want defending the big shot? You also can’t pick a teammate.
Okafor: Justin Anderson (from Virginia).
SI.com: Why is your team better than people think?
Okafor: Because we haven’t played to our potential yet. We had a couple mishaps during the season, a couple unfortunate losses that we’re recovering from.
SI.com: What one weird thing do you keep in your backpack or basketball bag?
Okafor: I don’t think I keep anything weird. Nope, nothing strange in my backpack.
SI.com: Do you keep anything special from someone, or some item that means a lot to you?
Okafor: In high school I kept my mother’s necklace in my bag but I don’t do that now.
SI.com: Who’s your favorite follow on Twitter?
Okafor: Joel Embiid (from the Philadelphia 76ers).
SI.com: Nice. This next question was actually inspired by him and his Twitter feed. Who’s your celebrity crush?
Okafor: I have a couple but I’ll make it simple: Beyoncé.
SI.com: What’s the best dunk you’ve done or seen live?
Okafor: My freshman year of high school I played on the same team as Sam Thompson, he's at Ohio State right now. At Whitney Young (in Chicago), he did a between-the-legs, 360 in one of our scrimmages. Even though that’s not a real game, it’s the best dunk I’ve seen against defense.
SI.com: Favorite March Madness memory?
Okafor: Definitely watching Steph Curry and his little Davidson team when they went on that run, just watching him take over.
SI.com: That’s a good one. So you’re an NBA GM with the first pick in the 2015 draft. Who are you taking and why?
Okafor: Hmm, I’d have to see who enters the draft.
SI.com: You know, you’ve been an answer to this question.
Okafor: Oh. I don’t want to say any other freshmen or put anybody on the blast … but if (freshman) L.J. Peak from Georgetown was to enter the draft, I’d take him.
SI.com: In their primes, are you taking LeBron or Kobe?
Okafor: Kobe. I’ve always been a Kobe fan, he’s one of my favorite players. I love LeBron, but Kobe was the first player I actually considered my favorite.
SI.com: What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve ever made on a basketball court?
Okafor: I think when I was younger I might have scored on the wrong basket. That wasn’t too smart.
SI.com: Do you remember doing it in a particular game, or are you just guessing that you did it or … did you do it regularly?
Okafor: Haha, I didn’t do it regularly! I think it happened once, maybe twice at the most.
SI.com: What is Coach K’s favorite phrase to yell repeatedly in practice?
Okafor: Probably telling us to talk. In some way, he’s always telling us to communicate.
SI.com: Which venue do you most want to play in?
Okafor: Does Cameron Indoor Stadium count? It’s definitely that. There’s no place like it.
SI.com: Who on your team would make the best coach someday and why?
Okafor: I’ll say Marshall (Plumlee). He has all the coaching features -- the way he talks, the way he carries himself. I’d give it to Marshall.
SI.com: Which teammate are you singing a karaoke duet with, and what’s your song of choice?
Okafor: I would sing it with (freshman) Tyus Jones and probably Mario’s “Let Me Love You.” We would mess that up completely.