Jarnell Stokes Continues to Weigh Options
Jarnell Stokes is one of the top 2012 recruits in the nation, but his future is currently up in the air. After announcing that he was going to transfer to the famed Oak Hill Academy for his senior year of high school, Stokes changed his mind two weeks ago and is once again weighing all of his options.
The forward has narrowed down his list of potential schools to four, but he has yet to make a decision.
“It’ll be Southwind, Central, IMG Academy or maybe back to Oak Hill,” Stokes told HOOPSWORLD. “I really don’t know yet. I have no idea. I’m waiting on some rulings and feedback regarding my situation. I don’t know where I’m going to play yet. I haven’t decided.”
Several holdups have emerged throughout this process. Stokes is seeking a waiver that would allow him to play immediately at Southwind High in Memphis. Because he is transferring from nearby Central High, he’ll have to be granted a hardship in order to play this season. His family will have to prove that the decision to change schools was financially motivated rather than simply for basketball purposes.
If things fall through with Southwind, Stokes has expressed significant interest in IMG, which is located in Florida. However, he is hesitant to leave his family and live on IMG’s campus.
Oak Hill seemed like a perfect fit for Stokes because he would face tougher competition, increase his national exposure and play with other top recruits that he had grown close to during AAU competition. However, Stokes says the school’s pricey tuition played a big role in his decision to reconsider.
“It was mainly financial reasons,” Stokes said. “I went up there to see the school and then my visit got canceled too. Those were my reasons for not going.”
Now, as he looks for his new school, he wants to find the fit that’s best for him and his game.
“What I’m looking for in a school is the best all-around situation,” Stokes said. “I’m a four and I want to go somewhere I can play. Also, I want to be around guys that want to win. I don’t want to play with selfish guys – I want guys that want to win.”
Stokes has been in the headlines quite a bit throughout this saga, but he’s not worried about his decision. While this will impact his future, he’s not stressing himself out. He and his family will wait and then make an informed decision once they receive all of the facts surrounding the situation.
“I’m just focusing on basketball,” Stokes said. “Whatever school I go to, it’s not going to hurt me long term. Even if I sat out my senior year, I’d still be okay, although I’d miss out on being a McDonald’s All-American and all of that stuff.”
“I see all of these articles and I laugh at them,” he continued. “They think I’m stressed out and frustrated, but I’m not. I’m just trying to deal with all of the attention, and find the best situation. If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that nothing really frustrates me. That’s just the type of guy I am. I don’t get frustrated by all of this stuff.”
Whenever Stokes chooses a high school, he’ll be able to focus his attention on his college decision. Many of the nation’s top programs are recruiting Stokes, but he currently lists six schools as being his favorites.
“My top schools are Arkansas, Memphis, Florida, Tennessee and Connecticut,” Stokes said. “UCLA deserves a mention too because they just started showing interest in me.”
Stokes is a versatile forward, who can cause match-up problems inside and out. He has an impressive arsenal of post moves, which is why some college coaches compare him to Karl Malone. This summer, he continued to expand his game by improving his ball handling and perimeter skills. Stokes will be one of the top players in the country this season, but where he’ll be playing remains to be seen.