The Champlin Park Rebels went to state this year behind eight seniors who dominated the game by game rotation. Junior T.J. Okafor played a role off the bench as 9th man on the 24-6 team averaging just over two points a contest. Things will change his senior year as Okafor is a top 2011 talent in Minnesota, so talented that four schools have already offered him college scholarships.
T.J.'s off-season has been all about making a name for both himself and his teams. Certainly he felt he had something to prove after playing mostly junior varsity this winter and right now he's doing just that. His CP Rebels took part in the always tough Breakdown Summer Showcase in Rogers and Okafor was by far the day's top performer leading his team to a championship.
Champlin Park defeated good squads from New Prague, Rogers, and St. Cloud Apollo on their way to an undefeated championship. And the 6-foot-5 Okafor did just about everything you would expect from an athletic forward and he did a lot of it. Okafor's shot blocking was by far the most explosive the Summer Showcase event has seen since Rodney Williams was in the gym and many of T.J.'s blocks came from the helpside.
Okafor also rebounded and defended at a high level denying post entries or wing passes from forwards like Cale Girten, Michael Schreiber, Trevor Morlock, Simon Krych, and Blake Maslonkowski. Offensively Okafor ran the floor and finished with fluidity plus he finished in the halfcourt set with a high percentage inside and out. T.J. has been doing much of the same all April, May, and June with his Minnesota Fury Blue team and colleges have taken notice.
"My season for Fury is going very good we've had a lot of success, and some downs at the state tourney, but we've rebounded from that and hopefully it leads to more success this month," T.J. stated.
"Southwest State, Sioux Falls, Mankato State, Mary, St. Cloud State, Central Michigan, Hartford, Northern State, Bemidji, South Dakota, and South Dakota State have all shown interest."
Of that long list of schools Okafor has received four scholarship offers so far.
"I've received offers from Southwest State, Sioux Falls, MSU-Mankato, and Mary," Okafor listed. "I really like all of the schools, I'm just grateful to be put in this situation, showing that hard work does pay off."
Indeed it has.