‘Lethal’ 2017 guard/forward Kris Wilkes receives IU offer

082413ncnxWhen Indy Hoosiers AAU coach Mike Peterson speaks about 2017 guard/forward Kris Wilkes, one of the first words he mentions is “lethal.”

No, it is not a direct reference to his game on the court, where Wilkes is a 6-foot-6 freshman at North Central that received an Indiana offer on Friday and has interest from Purdue, Xavier and Memphis.

His “lethal” status comes from taekwondo, a sport in which Wilkes is a black belt. As untraditional as it seems — Peterson is quick to mention Wilkes is not your typical basketball recruit — it’s all part of the equation of how Wilkes is beginning his high school career with a hot start.

“He could show you some stuff, but he has a very strong core,” Peterson told Inside the Hall Friday evening. “You never find Kris on the ground because he’s so strong with his body and his balance.”

And there’s no arguing that work has helped him on the court, too.

Earlier this month, Wilkes was named the Most Valuable Player of the CrossRoads Elite 125 National Camp (highlights from that camp are posted below) in Nashville, Tenn. The event featured some of the top talent in the country’s 2017 and 2018 classes.

For those who don’t know him yet, Peterson said it won’t take much longer.

“Kris’s heart and tenacity on the floor, man, is just out of this world,” Peterson said. “I’m telling you, with his skill, I can play him anywhere from the 1 to the 5. He can bring the ball up the floor. Where he lacks right now is a consistent outside jump shot, but that is going to come if he continues to shoot and work on that part of his game.

“Other than that, he doesn’t have a weakness. He rebounds, he spins, he can go to the bucket.”

Wilkes’ athletic abilities only make up half the story behind his success, though.

Each Sunday, his extended family meets at his grandmother’s house, where she cooks everyone dinner. Even from a young age, Wilkes learned the importance of family, education, church and being respectful. His father has kept him enrolled in martial arts classes to gain strength, focus and work ethic. He also has played the bass in orchestra.

“His family needs to be mentioned. He has an awesome family, from his dad, to his uncles, to his grandmother,” Peterson said. “Kris always looks the part and talks the part. It’s because of his family background.”

As his college recruitment takes off, Wilkes intends to not lose sight of what’s close. During an unofficial visit to Indiana on Friday, where he played a pick-up game with Yogi Ferrell and No. 2 NBA draft pick Victor Oladipo and got a campus tour from head coach Tom Crean, Wilkes was offered a scholarship.

Afterward, when Peterson called to ask how it went, Wilkes “was giggling ear to ear. He loves IU.”

Wilkes now is the third member from his AAU team to get a scholarship offer from Indiana, joining 2017 recruits Southport guard Paul Scruggs and Hamilton Southeastern forward Zach Gunn.

Peterson noted those offers “could play a big part in the future. They may all want to stay and play together.”

College indeed is far in the future for Wilkes. He only is three weeks into his freshman year of high school, after all.

But that hasn’t stopped Peterson from singing his praises. From taekwondo, to orchestra and to the basketball court, Wilkes has diversified himself into a star. Peterson, however, summed it up in layman’s terms.

“He does it all.”

Here’s highlights on Wilkes from the CrossRoads Elite 125 National Camp earlier this month:

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    This guy has some hops! Love his family focus and his humble excitement after picking up an offer from CTC. 2014 class will be better than expected, a stellar compliment to our current roster.

  • N71

    I like being first in on a local 4 or 5-star to be but lets not ask them to commit until much later. They’ll know what we think of them early which is great, they can look elsewhere to learn there is no greater place to play hoops, and we can avoid all the turbulence de-committing causes.

  • Ya,mon.

    What a great way to begin the morning with a super article on a Wilkes and an unhurried cup of coffee,
    Jordan, I attended Butler University with Josh Littman and was deeply saddened by his too early passing. Is there a family relationship?

  • Hoosier 53

    Let’s lay back and watch! I waited for 2 other guys to come and where are they going now???

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    So you think Lyles & Blackmon decommitted because they were offered early !? CTC knows what he is doing. So do you live in a van down by the river? Have you run into Matt Foley? He can help you. Lol

  • Kyl470

    You are aware this kid isn’t in the 2014 class right?

  • Caleb Moore

    Hahaha…hanner that is pretty funny. I’m sure you can understand the trepidation of some fans though given we have been burned twice by early commits in the last year. This kid sounds special though in a lot of different ways and to get all 3 of these kids in together on top of what will be an excellent 2016 class we will be very strong for a stretch there.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Yes, I should have transitioned better. Lots of banter/concern on here after Blackmon decommit … as he was offered so early. Look, the recruiting game is complex and fluid. Our targets for 2014 are solid.

  • ScoopGeoff

    That and you would never confuse his guy as a good athlete for a senior… A freshman, yes… He is amazingly fluid for a 6’6″ 14 year old… But he would be a woefully skinny and unathletic 6’6″ senior.

    Looks like he has all the tools and gifts to be one hell of a player in 3 years though.

  • PV Mike

    This kid looks real special to me with outstanding potential. I agree that rather than dunking or driving to the basket all the time on inferior kids his age he takes the time shooting hours and hours of outside shots as things will not be so easy for him as he grows older.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree with you. Though I’m disappointed because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better pure shooter out of high school than Blackmon, I too think that the 2014 class will turn out to be something special.

    #1 – I see Noah Vonleh coming back for 2014 which is like having a top recruit when an expected 1-and-done comes back for year two.

    #2 – I think IU is going to land one of the bigs they’re after, probably Goodluck which is a definite need (some girth).

    #3 – I think there are several shooting guards/combo guards still on the board every bit as good as JB and you can expect us to land at least one of those guys. Most BTW are better athletes than JB even if they aren’t the same level shooters.

    I think 2014 will end up just fine and there’s a TON of talent to build on in this 2013 class. It’s the type of class that produces 3-4 years of success because of the depth.

  • SCHoosier

    Hey it’s an offer with a long consideration period. I want IU to be on the Indiana kids early and often..and somehow be able to convince top local recruits that the grass is not greener just cause its in another state.

  • IUeconAlum

    I just hope he doesn’t commit anytime soon. Wait until the year before you can actually play college ball and know for sure where you want to be before you commit somewhere.

  • IUMIKE1

    I like that we are in on this guy this early, almost as much as I would like for him to don the Candy Stripes. Looks like he is going to be an elite player. I have witnessed first hand how the fringe benefits of dedicated martial arts classes can help in a multitude of things, especially when it comes to sports.

  • Snookafly

    A 6’6″ incoming freshman and he looks like he’s having fun. I like this kid already.

  • Ole Man

    The first two sentences were fine. The rest of your post is classless.

  • MisterSlippery

    Let’s not kid ourselves, JBJr is going to be outstanding wherever he lands.

  • marcusgresham

    It was a reference to an old SNL skit; I don’t think he meant it to be rude.

  • Ole Man

    Ah; thanks for clearing that up.

  • marcusgresham

    Here’s one classic episode:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkNEO6moDoA

  • dmamel

    What a fine young man Kris seems to be. Multitalented with his feet firmly on the ground with family and church. It does not get better than that. Good luck to you Kris. I would love to see you in candy stripes in 4 years.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    You know what is funny, I left the same link to clear this up and apparently the moderator @ the time did not like my reply. Are you kidding me, this skit is a riot!!!! Whatever, and now our righteous political machine wants to go into Syria . . . sigh

  • gee money

    What a great comment. Thanks for supporting big Kris.

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