When Kris Wilkes, a super recruit that is a part of the Class of 2017 from North Central High School in Indianapolis, released his list that he had cut to 11 schools and the Indiana Hoosiers made the cut, it meant a lot more than just a shot for Tom Crean to land another big time recruit.
Until last year when the Purdue Boilermakers landed the top recruit from the state in Caleb Swanigan, the state of Indiana really had not been very kind to the two Big Ten schools that should (theoretically) own the recruiting in their own state.
But that hasn’t always been the case.
Look around Big Ten schools, or even beyond the conference, at some recruits that Purdue or Indiana would have loved to keep at home. A short list would include Kyle Guy, Gary Harris, Zak Irvin, Trey Lyles, Jalen Coleman-Lands. And if you want to go back even further, Mike Conley and Greg Oden qualify too.
These are all backyard type guys. These are guys who, in the minds of the fans, should never be recruited and swayed by a school from out of the state (even if the 17 or 18 year old kid has reasons beyond basketball for attending a university). As fans, we’d like to see in-state and hometown kids playing for these universities. Especially when the in-state, hometown kids are five-star super recruits.
So that leads me to this point, what would it mean from a standpoint even beyond that moment if Kris Wilkes decides he wants to become an Indiana Hoosier?
Look at some of the other universities on his list of 11. Schools like Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan, Connecticut and Ohio State. Other historically good basketball programs, some with histories of stealing some of the state of Indiana’s best talent.
Keep in mind, in writing this, I am making no promises, guarantees or even predictions to the landing spot of Wilkes in his recruiting trail. It’s all simply pondering what type of effect he could have on the future recruiting of the university.
When Kris Wilkes released his list, it soon turned into a battle of “Indiana vs. North Carolina” for a top recruit in the country. Quite simply, and to be frank, if Kris Wilkes decides to stay in the state and go to Indiana, perhaps he could make it cool again for the big name talents of the state to stay home, play for an in-state school and try to bring some more glory to the university.
From a basketball standpoint, there’s no question that Wilkes has all the talent you could hope for from a high school kid. Size, athleticism, skill, it’s all there for the North Central stud. Think of how much fun it would be to have a Purdue - Indiana rivalry revived with in-state kids who grew up around the rivalry, witnessing every day from the time they’re kids the type of passion and intensity that goes into those game.
Should Kris Wilkes stay in the state and attend Indiana University, he would without question be the biggest in-state recruit since Yogi Ferrell to sport the cream and crimson, and if he could leave an impact like Yogi left, it could have huge implications for the Hoosiers landing more in-state blue chip recruits in the future.