Okafor: "I want to dominate."

Okafor: "I want to dominate."

When Jahlil Okafor steps on a basketball court, he has one thing on his mind: dominating his opponent. And with the state playoffs coming up, now is as good of a time as any to do just that.

Whitney Young junior center Jahlil Okafor has been asserting himself as the nation's top big man and the top player in the nation in 2014, and possibly even the best regardless of class. He turned in another dominant performance on Saturday.

What made that performance even more impressive was that he did it against another of the state's top bigs in Benet's Sean O'Mara. Okafor enjoyed the matchup, but he wasn't intimidated by it at all, in part due to the rigorous schedule that Whitney Young has been playing all year.

"I was looking forward to playing against another big man," he said. "Luckily, our coaches have had us traveling around the country playing against some of the top big men like Dakari Johnson and BeeJay Anya and some other big men. So this wasn't my first time, but it was really fun."

With such a vast set of skills, Okafor has numerous ways he can beat a team, but his mindset, in the end, is really pretty simple. And more times rather than not, he makes good on his goal. O'Mara was a good test for Okafor, but regardless of who he's playing, the game plan stays the same.

"Every game I go and just try to dominate," he said, "but playing against other big men, I know what I'm up against. The thing about this game is how hard I had to work on defense to keep him contained."

Okafor is already a very complete player who could likely start for a number of college teams, but he isn't content to settle with where he is now and continues to improve.

"I've added more shot blocking and I've become more of a presence on the defensive end this year," Okafor said.

As if Okafor wasn't already a load for other teams to handle, he isn't alone at Whitney Young when it comes to future Divison One players. Whitney Young is loaded with talent, and when teams decide to put more effort into stopping Okafor, he knows he has teammates that will make their opponent pay for it.

"We have great perimeter guys in Paul White, L.J. Peak, Miles Reynolds, and Joseph Toye," he said. "So I'll kick the ball back out to the perimeter for those guys to get open shots."

As much as schools have come after Okafor, he has put his recruitment on slow-motion for the time being to focus on his season and the goal of winning a state title. But after the season, things will likely pick back up again and he'll hit the road for visits instead of games

"I haven't decided yet for sure on visits, but I'll probably take a couple after the season," he said. "I'll probably go to Michigan State, Izzo's been on my back about that for a while."

With all the travel he's done as a high school player, distance won't really be a big deal for Okafor when it comes to selecting a college.

"I'm used to being away from home and playing with the USA team," he said. so distance from home won't be a big factor for me."

But relationships will be a big deal for Okafor, both with the coaches and with his fellow players. It's clear Okafor is set on being successful.

"Really I want a great relationship with the coaching staff and be comfortable around them," Okafor said. "That and I want to be around a bunch of other great players, because that helps me elevate my game too."

And with the talent he's surrounded by now, he doesn't rule out the possibility of surrounding himself with some of the same guys at the next level.

"Oh yeah, it's possible (that we play together in college)," he said. "LJ Peak and Paul, even Miles if we end up with the same offers."

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