PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jahlil Okafor is coming off of the worst year of his basketball career.
The 21-year-old averaged 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 22.7 minutes in 50 games last season. He missed the final 11 games due to right knee soreness. He also dealt with multiple trade rumors, which were so rampant he didn’t travel with the team for a February game in Charlotte.
And on top of all of that, Okafor — a third overall pick in 2015 — is criticized constantly by the fans for his old-school style of play and lack of hustle. This play, where Okafor does not play any defense, went viral last season.
But whatever doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger, right?
“I’ve been playing basketball my entire life and I’ve been really successful with that,” Okafor said at a basketball camp on Tuesday, per TheIntell.com. “Last year was a different year for me — something I wasn’t accustomed to — but I’m better because of it.”
Okafor has slimmed down from 270 to 260 pounds, thanks to a new vegan diet he’s trying. He understands the trade rumors still exist, but Jah is happy in Philly.
“I hear trade rumors and stuff like that,” he said. “I realize that having a new scenario, you think it might be better than it is right now. But when it comes to the NBA, all I know is wearing a Sixers uniform. And the city’s been great to me, the coaches have been great to me, and my teammates have been great. So I couldn’t be happier.”