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Young's Jahlil Okafor soars for a powerful dunk against Powerhouse. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Mac Irvin Fire club basketball coach Mike Irvin doesn’t know which school Jahlil Okafor is leaning towards, but he knows which college head coaches spent their precious July hours following Okafor, the top player in the national class of 2014.
“[Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski] was at every game, he was the only head coach that was really following Jahlil all over the place,” Irvin said. “If [Cliff Alexander] was sitting out it would only be Coach K watching that game. In my mind Duke has a really good chance to land [Okafor]. Coach K has done a good job of recruiting him.”
Irvin thinks Tyus Jones, the Minnesota point guard that is a package deal with Okafor, is destined for Duke.
“I think there is a great chance Tyus is going to Duke,” Irvin said. “So if [Okafor and Tyus] are going to school together..."
On Tuesday, Okafor’s father Chuck said he didn't think his son had a clear leader yet and definitely had not made up his mind. Read all about that here.
ALEXANDER STAYING LOCAL?
The other main attraction for the Mac Irvin Fire this summer was Curie big man Cliff Alexander, widely considered one of the top five players in the national class of 2014.
"It was like traveling with rock stars going to each of these events [with Alexander and Okafor]," Irvin said. "It was always a packed house with everyone wanting to see them."
Michigan State was considered the leader for Alexander the past few years, but Kansas (which now has former Illinois and SMU assistant coach Jerrance Howard on board) may now be the favorite.
Irvin stresses that Alexander is still strongly considering Illinois and DePaul.
“I know everyone wants to say who is leading and what’s what but Illinois is definitely in there,” Irvin said. “And DePaul has got a chance. I’m not sure about Cliff’s timeline for a decision. He’s had a lot of schools come in late like Kentucky, Memphis and Arizonza.”
THE NEXT STAR
St. Rita rising junior Charles Matthews doesn’t play for the Mac Irvin Fire, so it’s interesting to hear Irvin’s take on the point guard, who plays for Meanstreets. Matthews has jumped into the top 10 of a lot of national rankings and Duke is now showing serious interest.
“This whole game is based on potential and he has it,” Irvin said. “He’s a 6-5 kid that can shoot a jump shot and put it on the floor. He’s very athletic. He can do everything and doesn’t have a weakness. He’s a special talent. You just say wow when you see the things he can do.”
Matthews hasn’t garnered a lot of local headlines yet, but that is likely to change in the 2013-14 season as the Mustangs are expected to be one of the top five to ten teams in the area.