Jahlil Okafor catches a pass on the right block, turns and faces the basket, then takes a quick step-through dribble to the left to lose his defender.
But once he gets into the center of the paint, Okafor’s met by two defenders who are determined to stop his scoring barrage.
Makes sense since, midway through the third quarter, Okafor was leading Whitney Young (Chicago) with 25 points in a rout of Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) at the Cancer Research Classic on Jan. 5.
In a split-second, almost as if he expected the defensive adjustment, Okafor spins back to the right, losing all three defenders in the process, and drains a short fadeaway.
“Got to have a counter-move,” said Okafor, a junior who was named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason team and is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 60. “Got to.”
Go-to moves make players good, but consistent counter-moves are what make them special.
We caught up with a handful of players around the country and had them dish on what move they resort to when the defense keys in on their first option.
Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), 2013, C
Committed to: Kentucky
When the defense stops my go-to move I counter with: “A jump-hook shot going into the middle. The next thing I would try to do is an up-and-over where I first go toward the middle then go up-and-over the defender.”
Huntington Prep (Huntington Prep, W.Va.), 2015, SF
When the defense stops my go-to move I counter with: “A crossover through the legs in the other direction and then go straight to the basket. That’s the one I work on the most, and after that if they’re still there I’d probably do a step-back to create more space to get a jump shot.”
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), 2013, PG
Signed to: Washington
When the defense stops my go-to move I counter with: “Either a spin-move or a step-back. The spin move works well after a crossover or some type of move to get the defender moving in the opposite direction that you’re going in. Then they’ll try to cut you off because they’re out of position and that’s when you spin back in the direction they’re recovering from. The step-back works after any move you make that the defender doesn’t bite on. Just give him a little bump then step-back and you’ve created space. That works no matter how good the defender is.”
Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), 2013, F
When the defense stops my go-to move I counter with: “An attack or I draw myself into the open foot of the defender that is faced toward me. That can be with a spin-move or pro-hop. That works out pretty well.”
St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia), 2013, SG
Signed to: Wake Forest
When the defense stops my go-to move I counter with: “A drive to the left; that way if the defender cuts me off I can usually step back with the double-crossover so he switches feet. It works a lot!”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.