1999 born Michael Okafor is taking his talents to Utah. The Rexdale, ON will reclassify to the 2017 class and play for Wasatch Academy his senior season. Okafor arrives on Wasatch campus as a senior but more importantly as a reinforcement to an already really good Tigers team.
Okafor at 6-4 boasts a 6-10 wingspan. He spent 2015-16 at Martingrove and saw his development really take off this summer testing his growth on the AAU basketball scene. Playing regularly with his local boys and girls club Albion Neighborhood Services (ANS), and more competitively with Can-Amera, Okafor blossomed into both a focal point on offense and an alpha dog on defense. His head coach of both squads Yoosrie Salhia offered this on the 6-4 guard,
"Michaels length and athleticism makes him a versatile player that will bring it on both ends of the floor. He is one of the best two way players in his class, " Said Salvia
"What Wasatch can expect from him is first and foremost a great individual with high character and an amazing attitude. On the court they can expect Michael to do whatever it takes to win. He is the ultimate glue guy that can fit into any system."
In 2016 Wasatch Academy entered the prestigious Dicks National Championship as the number eight seed. This on the heels of a 29-3 record which included convincing victories against OSBA outfit Athlete Institute and NPA outfit Thetford Academy. In 2016-17, the Tigers hope to duplicate their success playing a DICKS national schedule. One featuring marquee matchups against Findlay Prep & Chino Hills among others.
"I felt Wasatch is a great fit for Michael because of their schedule, academics and resources. With a great leader such as Coach Condie, Michael will be able to take his game to the next level," Salhia added.
Wasatch Academy admirably continue the tradition of flexing their muscle in the Canadian player pool. Okafor will be the fifth Canadian baller on its roster this fall. What led the Tigers to Okafor his coach felt is their belief he is the right guy to fill a void in a championship culture with delicate team chemistry,
"Wasatch targeted Michael because Coach Condie was able to identify his potential and he strongly feels that Michael is a piece to his puzzle when putting together a contender," concluded Salhia.
Okafor 6-10 wingspan (c/o @Can_Amera)
Okafor moving to a program like Wasatch Academy is as high profile of a prep switch you can make. Making him the automatic poster boy for the Can-Amera brand. A label his coach is completely fine with,
"He becomes an example for Can Amera. For our program to take it to the next level, we have to show how we can provide opportunities for kids to get a free education and play at the next level."
As for Can Amera their rise to prominence has been cemented during these dog days of summer at the eleventh hour. After traveling to Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago and Las Vegas, Okafor becomes the fourth prep transfer this summer on their 16U roster. According to Coach Salhia that number could stretch to as large as seven when it's all said and done.
Okafor travelling with Can Amera 16U was instrumental in their success both domestically and across the States.
In Canada; Can Amera 16U lost the CNIT championship in double overtime to Grassroots and a month later got revenge on 'Roots in the Jane and Finch Classic championship game. They were also a bronze winner in the Canadian Youth Basketball League (CYBL) defeating Northern Kings twice along the way.
South of the border Can-Amera won the platinum bracket at the Grand Rapids Brawl For The Ball tourney and finished 2-3 at the Adidas Las Vegas Summer championships in August despite missing key pieces.
Okafor joins 2017's Josip Vrankic, Jeff Baradziej, 2018 Emmanuel Akot and 2019 Damian Squire in Mount Pleasant, UT as the fab five representing Canada. This after Canadians Koby McEwen (Utah St) and Jackson Rowe (Cal St Fullerton) graduated last June and 2017 Shamiel Stevenson transferred out.
2017 Michael Okafor (Can-Amera/Wasatch, UT)
"Very long athletic 2 guard with huge hands that can play above the rim. Great leaper and plays taller then his 6-4 height. Attacks rim with aggression. Okafor is a versatile offensive player who is working hard on improving his jump shot and passing abilities as well as other areas in his game. The 1999 born guard is at his best when he's using his athleticism to attack the rim in transition or in half court ... He's an underrated defender who thrives off coming up with steals and starting fast break opportunities for his team."
Tag(s): Canadian Ballers