Whitney Young (Chicago)
was the early favorite to enter 2013-14 as the preseason national No. 1.
But the Dolphins were hit hard by transfers as Georgetown commitment L.J. Peak returned to his native South Carolina and uber-athlete Joseph Toye joined his sister at Indiana independent La Lumiere.
Head coach Tyrone Slaughter isn't exactly limping into the winter with a depleted roster, however. The Dolphins will feature arguably the nation's top center in 6-foot-10 Jahlil Okafor
, who is expected to decide between Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky in the near future.
Okafor will be joined by a pair of Division I verbal pledges in versatile 6-9 forward Paul White
(Georgetown) and point guard Miles Reynolds
"We still have the same high expectations," Slaughter said. "The goal is always to win a state championship."
Rival Simeon (Chicago) has denied Whitney Young the opportunity to win a state title each of the past three seasons. Okafor ending his high school career without a championship would be a bit of a strange asterisk on the resume given his global accomplishments.
Okafor has won gold medals with USA Basketball in three different international competitions, including the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship in Lithuania — where he was named tournament MVP.
"There's a tendency to define players based on championships, but he's never been impacted by that kind of talk," Slaughter said. "He goes about his business, never is too big on himself, just steady as you go. He plays the game, lives his life and has a great family situation that I think has helped insulate him from a lot of the trappings of basketball stardom."
Rounding out the rotation will be returning guards Erwin Henry
and Rodney Herenton Jr.
and transfers Skyler Nash
and Anthony Mosley Jr.
Herenton Jr. and Nash are both regarded as top prospects in the 2016 class. View gallery of Whitney Young preseason photo shootWhitney Young last five years:
2012-13 (Tyrone Slaughter) – 27-4, No. 10 final Xcellent 25 national ranking
2011-12 (Tyrone Slaughter) – 16-10
2010-11 (Tyrone Slaughter) – 20-10
2009-10 (Tyrone Slaughter) – 23-7, Class 4A runner-up
2008-09 (Tyrone Slaughter) – 25-9, Class 4A state champions