North Central star Kris Wilkes pays yet another visit to Bloomington

North Central's Kris Wilkes has the Hoosiers in his final three.

North Central’s Kris Wilkes has the Hoosiers in his final three.

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana hosted an unexpected visitor Saturday: five-star 2017 North Central forward Kris Wilkes.

Wilkes turned up on the sideline at Memorial Stadium, before the Hoosiers’ homecoming football game against Nebraska. His AAU coach told IndyStar Wilkes made the trip with a friend who is being recruited by IU’s football team. Wilkes appeared to be standing next to Cory Stewart, a football player from North Central, on the sideline pregame.

Probably IU coach Tom Crean’s top target in the current senior class, Wilkes officially visited Bloomington just two weekends ago. He recently cut his list of schools down to a final three, which includes UCLA, Indiana and Illinois, and said he was aiming for a fall decision.

“I hear from (Indiana fans) all the time,” Wilkes told IndyStar’s Kyle Neddenriep. “But I have to decide where the best place is for me. Even if you don’t have as many fans, if that’s where you want to go, then that’s where you should go.”

Because he took his official visit earlier this month, Wilkes’ trip to Bloomington on Saturday would have to be unofficial, meaning he would have paid his own way. It’s unclear how far in advance his visit was planned.

He canceled planned official visits to UConn and Xavier, and has visited all three of his named finalists officially now.

“I’ll always have love for the Hoosiers,” he told IndyStar. “I’ve been going down there since the fourth grade. When I went on that official visit, it showed me more. I got to see more of campus and see some of the new areas down there on campus. That was good. I’m used to just going down there for basketball and going home.”

IndyStar understands Wilkes attended IU’s practice Saturday, a portion of which was televised on the Big Ten Network, as part of his visit.

Indiana currently has three players committed in 2017 – Georgia guard Al Durham, Philadelphia-area forward Clifton Moore and Chicago-area forward Justin Smith.

Wilkes is the No. 18 player in his class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He is a leading candidate for IndyStar Mr. Basketball in 2017.

Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.