Basketball has been pretty good to Jahlil Okafor for his entire life. In high school, he was the nation’s top recruits after tearing up the competition at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School. In college, Okafor was one of the top freshman in the sport at Duke, being honored as the ACC Player of the Year and a consensus All-American during his only season in Durham.
Even at the start of his time in the NBA, it looked like Okafor was going to be pretty good. He was a first-team All-Rookie selection after being taken with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, and despite the fact that the Sixers had Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, Okafor looked like he had carved out a role with his ability to score.
Instead, he was slowly phased out of the team’s rotation to the point that Philadelphia traded him to Brooklyn last week. While he is yet to suit up for the Nets, Okafor finds himself in a position he’s never been in before. And for a guy who has always had success, being an underdog of sorts has Okafor excited.
“I have a chip on my shoulder,” Okafor told the New York Post. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”
Okafor has yet to take the floor for the Nets, but he seems to have the right mindset about hitting reset on his career. He told the Post that he felt like he was “dreaming” after arriving to New York, and that he is “all-in” right now.