Jahlil Okafor: ‘Comfortable’ Staying In College

Long before he stepped foot in Durham, N.C., Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor has been expected to forgo his final three years of eligibility in favor of the NBA, thus becoming one of the next highly touted one-and-done players.

However, Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times, has reported that the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft would not mind suiting up for Mike Kryzyzewski’s Blue Devils for another year.

“I know I’ll be in position to live my dream in the NBA or live my dream and stay here at Duke with people who truly love me,” Okafor said. “I totally feel comfortable with staying here in college, and my family wouldn’t care one bit as long as I’m happy. They know how much I love being here.”

“I love everything about Duke. I wish I could just stop time and be able to enjoy this as much as I can.”

The 6-foot-11, 210-pound center has had a sensational season for the No. 4 Blue Devils. Through 24 games, he’s averaged 18.0 points on 66 percent shooting from the field, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He’s considered by many as the frontrunner to win the John. R. Wooden Award, annually given to college basketball’s most outstanding player.

Chuck Okafor, his father, expressed that his son’s decision to stay in college or go pro will not come easy.

‘It’s such a great environment for him,” he said. “He enjoys being a student and enjoys the process of working toward his degree. He enjoys the university, the environment, the closeness to his brothers he plays with, his peers, classmates. I want him to stay on the path that he’s on, get his college degree, pursue all his goals.”

Many of the past top one-and-done prospects in college basketball have often thought about what another year in college would do for them, so this is nothing new.

Duke’s prized freshman phenom from last season, Jabari Parker, also flirted with the idea of returning to school, and even had numerous NBA general managers convinced he would. He eventually declared for the 2014 Draft and was selected No. 2 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Okafor’s comments could just be an expression of his love and appreciation for Duke basketball and his college experience as a whole. On the other hand, they could also be a sign of wholehearted considerations regarding his future.

Whatever the case may be, NBA offices and basketball fans alike have just been put on notice that it’s not a guarantee the talented big man will be making the jump to the pros this year.

*Photo credit to Getty Images

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