It is always difficult to know where a recruit is going to go and consensus five-star prospect Kris Wilkes is no different. Looking at his 247 Crystal Ball predictions it would appear Indiana is the front-runner, so I wanted to dive into how Wilkes would fit in Bloomington, along with potential other destinations for him.
Wilkes has recently been recruited by schools all across the Big Ten, in addition to other schools like Kentucky, Notre Dame, Washington and UCLA. He intends to cut his list down soon to only schools that have offered him a scholarship, so even though Kentucky has not offered him yet I would expect them to soon enough. His only official visit planned thus far is with UCLA, but he has been in close talks with numerous coaching staffs for some time now, including Indiana. It is worth mentioning, Wilkes does play for an Under Armour AAU team (Indy Hoosiers) and participated in Steph Curry’s select camp, another Under Armour event.
Of the schools Wilkes is currently considering, three of them are some of Under Armour’s biggest contracts; Maryland, UCLA and Notre Dame. It is widely speculated whether sneaker wars might seriously impact in the recruitment of top talent, but we would be naive to think the big brands do not at least play a small role in many recruits’ decisions. Another conspiracy theory for some to grab onto is that Wilkes and fellow five-star prospect Michael Porter appear to be close friends. Porter’s father recently received an assistant coach position at Washington and many signs would indicate Porter Jr. intends to follow his father to Seattle. While that may ultimately mean very little, who knows if that could influence Wilkes’ decision at all.
After taking all of that into consideration, what if Wilkes ultimately chooses to remain at home in the Hoosier state and play for Tom Crean at Indiana? How would he fit in? Seamlessly is the answer to the second question.
Wilkes is a 6-7 forward who is extremely efficient around the rim and really effective operating in the paint. He knows what his weaknesses are and works to improve them; he has been working a lot on his ball handling lately, as well as his shooting. For Indiana, shooting is the least of their concerns. They will likely be returning great guard play and a group of players who can shoot the three-point shot at a high clip following 2016-17.
It would be reasonable to expect the departure of O.G. Anunoby for the 2017 NBA Draft. Between him and Collin Hartman, there will be a hole in the rotation at the forward position that will need to be filled. Freddie McSwain should be able to fit part of the need, but the addition of Wilkes would only help the Hoosiers cause. Wilkes ability to slash in the lane and operate in and around the post would be a great complement to the outside shooting already abundant at Indiana.
Even though it remains unclear where Wilkes will end up, if he chooses to spend his college career in Bloomington he will likely be a great fit.