Preps Talk

Jay Williams on how special Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker could be in NBA

jay-williams-3-17-16.png

Jay Williams on how special Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker could be in NBA

Jahlil Okafor and Jabari Parker have experienced success at every level of their basketball careers.

In high school, both of them won state championships with their respective Chicago schools, Whitney Young and Simeon. In college, they both attended Duke, where Okafor helped the Blue Devils win their fifth national championship in school history during his freshman year in 2015.

It remains to be seen how their NBA careers will look when it's all said and done, but they're just getting started and former Duke guard and current ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams is confident that the two have bright futures at the professional level.

"I knew they were both going to be successful in the pros," Williams said last month when he visited Comcast SportsNet Chicago to promote his memoir. "Obviously, Jahlil going to Philadelphia is a little bit of a different scenario then Jabari going to Milwaukee, but they're both special players. I knew Jabari was going to be special just because of his footwork and versatility, and his ability to shoot the basketball. And both of these players have the willingness to buy into what Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) was preaching. That's coach ability, and that goes a long way.

"And for Jahlil, it's not every day you see somebody with that size. The NBA is transitioning more to these small forwards, like a Draymond Green. I think Jah, his footwork and his hands, his hand-eye coordination is off the charts. It's a matter for him now to get surrounded by the right pieces and that's where you have to trust upper management for Philadelphia. But no doubt about it, they're both very special players."

[MORE: Friday on CSN: IHSA Class 3A/4A basketball state semifinal]

Williams was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Bulls, where he spent his only season in the big leagues before his life took a sudden turn. He was involved in a motorcycle accident that effectively ended his basketball career.

Williams documented the events and recalled his story in his new book titled, "Life Is Not An Accident."

"Everybody makes mistakes in life," Williams told CSN. "For a long time, I looked at my life through the prism of that mistake and I thought that mistake defined me. As you move on in life, you recognize that this is who I was in my past, this is not who I am now and it's time for me to relinquish the pain that I held from my past and move on because I'm a better person because of it. Fall down seven times, get up the eighth, and that's the way you should live your life."

See what else Williams had to see in the full interview above, which includes some advice for Illinois high school players ahead of the IHSA state championships this weekend on CSN.

Also be sure to check out Williams' appearance on SportsTalk Live from February in the video below.

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

 

School: Lincoln Park

Head coach: Vince DeFrancesco

Assistant coaches: Steve Karoff, Grant Magnuson, Tyler Clark, Brandon Randolph, Alex Green and Tom Dellota

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (7-0 Chicago Public League Chicago Big Shoulders Conference). Lincoln Park made the Class 7A state football playoff field. The Lions lost to Alton in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ IWT Speer

Sept. 1 vs. Kenwood

Sept. 7 vs. Hubbard

Sept. 14 @ Phillips

Sept. 21 vs. Lane Tech

Sept. 28 vs. Taft

Oct. 5 vs. Westinghouse

Oct. 12 vs. Raby

Oct. 19 vs. Morgan Park

Biggest storyline: The Lions' new conference. Can Lincoln Park keep its winning ways when they start playing in the CPL/Illini Land of Lincoln this fall?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Dane Romberger and DB Jalen Jenkins

Biggest holes to fill: The Lions will need to reload on the offensive side of the football this summer with just three starters back this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Vince DeFrancesco's Lions have been on a nice roll, getting to the IHSA state playoffs in each of his past three seasons (four straight for the school overall). However, the price for the Lions' success is extremely high. The CPL Illini Land of Lincoln is loaded. The schedule includes the likes of Kenwood, Hubbard, Phillips, Raby and Morgan Park...just to name a few. If the Lions can develop their less experienced offense this summer, all the better for them.

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?