For those disinterested in pouring over sunflower seeds and Cracker Jack, or pacing in somnambulant fashion around a back-nine green, consider next year’s freshman class in college hoops. If there’s anything I love more than failing expectations, it’s the prospect that precedes it.
I give you the Hype ‘em up Top 5 Classes of 2015.
1. Duke University: 4 ESPN 100 Commits
Despite an early exit in this year’s tournament to a team with half the funding and educational opportunities, the Blue Devils appear equipped to make a run at global domination in 2015. Coach Krzyzewski and his colleagues put together the most talented Duke recruitment class in the past three years. Which is pretty horrifying to consider.
Jahlil Okafor can easily be mistaken for a 35-year-old man or a small skyscraper, depending on your upbringing. Carrying a 6-foot-11, 280-pound frame like a t-shirt, Okafor is unanimously considered the no. 1 prospect in the 2015 class. The Chicago native is the winner of the Morgan Wooten Player of the Year award, given to the top student-athlete in the country, so you know he’s a keeper. In the McDonald’s All-American Game, he was a shade uptight and never really unwound the hinges, but there’s no reason to believe that Okafor couldn’t be the next DeMarcus Cousins. The kid looks like Godzilla if Godzilla had the footwork of a swing dancer. Plus, he’s got a sense of humor.
Kid asked me what high school I go to. Told him Whitney Young, he said that means you play w Jahlil Okafor. Said that's me. Called me a liar
— Jahlil Okafor (@BigJah22) April 6, 2014
Paired with Okafor are some other 5-star recruits: Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen.
Tyus Jones has drawn some Derrick Rose comparisons and for good reason. His mid-air game mirrors Rose and he has no problem splitting big men in the lane. Harmonized with his savvy defensive game, particularly when matched up outside of 20-feet in one-on-one situations, Jones will be special; it’s only a matter of time.
Justise Winslow is already equipped with a mean step-back jumper and can finish at the rim with ease. At 6-foot-6, he’s got great length for a small forward and uses every inch to navigate along the baseline and through lanes.
Grayson Allen is a natural perimeter player who shoots well from behind the 3-point arc. That being said, few in this year’s class can bring the thunder like Allen. He won the McDonalds All-American Slam Dunk Contest handedly. HANDEDLY. What’s great about Allen is he knows his limits. If his shot isn’t falling, he’s willing to facilitate. If his team has a size advantage in the low-block, he’ll sacrifice scoring and get it into the paint.