Jahlil Okafor & Ariel Atkins Named National Players of the Year

The McDonald’s All American Games have announced Jahlil Okafor of Whitney Young in Chicago and Ariel Atkins of Duncanville High School in Duncanville, Texas, are this year’s Morgan Wootten Players of the Year. Named for the former DeMatha High School coaching legend, the award recognizes the best players in the country, with names like Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Jabari Parker and Austin Rivers taking home the honor in the past.

Okafor is a 6-10 center ranked as the No. 1 prospect in this year’s class by ESPN.com, and after leading his team to a class 4A state championship, he’s headed to Duke next year. He beat out finalists Cliff Alexander, Stanley Johnson, Tyus Jones, Emmanuel Mudiay and Myles Turner for the award.

“I am truly honored and humbled to win this prestigious award. The Morgan Wooten Award represents integrity, sportsmanship and dedication – all traits that I try to exhibit on and off the court,” said Okafor. “Winning this award shows that when you have a dream, and when you dedicate yourself to accomplishing that dream, anything is possible.”

The third female player from the state of Texas to win the award, Atkins is a 6-0 standout signed to play at Texas. She finished her high school career with two state championships and an incredible 105-game winning streak.

“I am just so thankful to be named Morgan Wootten Player of the Year,” said Atkins. “But I can’t take the full credit, there are so many people who have helped me become the person and player I am today, and on behalf of them I say thank you.”

With high school basketball over, you can look forward to the 2014 McDonald’s All American Games, which will take place at Chicago’s United Center on April 2. The girls begins the action at 7:00 p.m. EST, and the boys will follow at 9:30 p.m. EST.

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