INDIANAPOLIS — Long before Kris Wilkes played his first high school game at North Central, in August 2013, the current freshman received a scholarship offer to play basketball at Indiana. His AAU coach, Mike Peterson of Indy Hoosiers, called him “lethal.”
And that translated to the high school game in his first season with the Panthers. There, the 6-foot-7 (and nearing 6-foot-8) forward was second on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game and also recorded 3.3 rebounds per game, per MaxPreps.
Now, his first high school season is complete and the No. 14 prospect in the 2017 class (according to the Future150) is back playing with the Indy Hoosiers. Inside the Hall caught up with Wilkes on Saturday at the Indyball Shootout, the first AAU tournament of the season, after they defeated Circle City Elite by a 73-34 score in a pool play game at North Central. Wilkes finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“I felt really good,” Wilkes said. “I felt like a lot of things were going my way.”
For Wilkes, though, basketball is just part of the equation as to what makes him unique. It’s not just his athleticism that causes people to rise from their seats in anticipation of an alley-oop dunk. It’s not just his ever-improving jump shot. Wilkes said he takes pride in his school work. He said he has well over a 3.0 GPA.
As of today, Indiana will add a trio of recruits, James Blackmon Jr., Max Hoetzel and Robert Johnson, to next season’s roster.
But with the recent decisions of Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell to transfer, along with the departure of Noah Vonleh to the NBA and the midseason transfer of Luke Fischer, the Hoosiers still have three open scholarships for next season.
With the spring signing period beginning on Wednesday, here’s a look at some of the names that remain on the board. Please note that school lists aren’t necessarily all-inclusive, do not denote offers and that this list is in no particular order:
Josh Cunningham, Morgan Park (Ill.), 6-foot-7 forward
· Schools: Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, South Carolina
· Notes: Cunningham took his fifth and final official visit to South Carolina over the weekend and is scheduled to announce his decision on Friday, April 18. Per a report over the weekend by Adam Zagoria, St. John’s has come in with a late scholarship offer to Cunningham.
Marial Shayok, Blair Academy (N.J.), 6-foot-7 wing
· Schools: Indiana, La Salle, Marquette, Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Rutgers, West Virginia
· Notes: Shayok, who was signed with Marquette, received his release from his National Letter of Intent and is back on the market. According to reports, Shayok was offered by Indiana after receiving his release from the Golden Eagles.
Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson will play in the Big Ten next season as the former Hokie center picked Ohio State over his two other finalists, Indiana and Purdue.
“Well it’s official I’m a Ohio State Buckeye,” Thompson said Sunday on his Twitter account.
The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
Thompson, who averaged five points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a freshman in Blacksburg, committed to the Buckeyes on an official visit to Columbus that concluded today.
The 7-foot, 220 pound big man will be eligible beginning with the 2015-2016 season unless the NCAA grants him a waiver to play immediately.
Prior to the Ohio State visit, Thompson’s father Ryan, a former MLB outfielder, broke down the most important factors in his son’s decision in an interview with Inside the Hall.
Class of 2014 Indiana signee James Blackmon Jr. finished third in voting for the state’s Mr. Basketball award behind Trey Lyles and Trevon Bluiett, The Indianapolis Star announced today.
Lyles, a Kentucky signee, won the award with 117 votes and was followed by Bluiett, a Xavier signee, with 108 votes.
Blackmon Jr., who played his senior season at Marion after playing his first three high school seasons at Ft. Wayne Luers, finished third with 95 votes.
Lyles (Indianapolis Tech, Class 4A) and Bluiett (Park Tudor, Class 2A) both won state championships this past season.
Blackmon Jr., who is ninth on the state’s all-time scoring list with 2,387 points, has two busy weekends ahead. This coming Saturday he’ll play in the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon and he will then play in the Jordan Brand Classic on Friday, April 18 in Brooklyn.
As one of the top available transfers still on the board this spring, Indianapolis native Trevor Thompson is a priority for three Big Ten schools, including Indiana.
The Virginia Tech transfer averaged five points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a freshman and at close to 7-feet and 220 pounds, he’s viewed as a player who can make an impact beginning in the 2015-2016 season.
His father, Ryan, a former MLB outfielder who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and spent time with the Mets, Indians, Astros, Yankees, Marlins and Brewers, told Inside the Hall recently that a variety of factors went into his son’s decision to leave Blacksburg and pursue a new opportunity.
Among the factors mentioned were inconsistent playing time and being too far from home. Virginia Tech finished 9-22 and fired James Johnson at the end of the season, which made the decision to leave an even easier one.
“I want his college experience to be fun and enjoyable and I just didn’t sense that was happening for him,” he said. “And that’s an issue. It became really, really frustrating for the kid. I really wanted him to have fun and he didn’t.”
After receiving interest from numerous high major schools, Thompson is now focused on Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State.
Class of 2014 Bloomfield Hills forward Yante Maten, the Gatorade Player of the Year in Michigan, committed to Georgia on Saturday night.
Maten announced the news on his Twitter account and his high school coach, Duane Graves, confirmed the commitment to Inside the Hall.
“In Georgia, he found a school that best fits his wants and needs,” Graves said. “Educationally and athletically. I think it’s a great school. He couldn’t go wrong with any decision he made with all of the great schools that liked him.”
Indiana had Maten on campus recently for an official visit after offering him a scholarship on an in-home visit in late March. Maten received a scholarship offer from Michigan State last week, but ultimately chose the Bulldogs.
He also had offers from Colorado, TCU and Utah, among others.
Graves said the offers from Indiana and Michigan State were certainly appealing to Maten and made it tougher for him to make a decision as the process moved on.
Class of 2014 Morgan Park (Ill.) forward Josh Cunningham will not announce his college decision as originally scheduled on Wednesday, Apr. 9 according to reports by Evan Moore and The Chicago Tribune.
Instead, Cunningham will now announce his decision on Friday, Apr. 18 after he gets the opportunity to visit South Carolina next weekend. The NCAA is currently in a recruiting dead period that ends at noon on Thursday, April 10.
Rated the No. 107 nationally according to the 247Composite, Cunningham visited Bloomington for IU’s win over Ohio State back on March 2.
According to the Tribune, Cunningham is still considering offers from Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota and South Carolina.