North Central’s Kris Wilkes continued to justify his status as one of the top high school basketball prospects in the junior class with his weekend performance at the Under Armour Association event at Best Choice Fieldhouse in Fishers.
The 6-8 Wilkes, potentially the front-runner for IndyStar Mr. Basketball in 2017, had 19 points and five rebounds in a 70-48 win for his Indy Hoosiers team over KC Run GMC. He followed that with a 21-point, 10-rebound effort in a 77-76 loss to DC Premier.
Wilkes, ranked No. 12 in the class overall by Rivals.com and No. 13 by Scout, is fourth on the Under Armour circuit in scoring through six games (20.7 ppg) and is shooting 55 percent from the field.
“I’m definitely shooting the ball better,” he said.
Wilkes’ recruitment has been heavy since his freshman year. Coaches from Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State and Xavier all visited last week, either in-home (UCLA and Maryland) or at North Central (Illinois, Michigan State and Xavier).
“It was pretty nice,” Wilkes said of the in-home visits. “I loved talking to the coaches and getting to have that experience. Once I have a good relationship with the staff, then I can get a look at the players they have. Distance (from home) doesn’t matter.”
In addition to the schools above, Butler, Indiana, Purdue, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Ohio State and Vanderbilt are also in the mix. He said he’d like to take official visits to Maryland and UCLA, possibly before the July evaluation period.
After a strong junior season that saw him win Marion County Player of the Year and earn a spot on the core group of the IndyStar Indiana Junior All-Star team, Wilkes has stepped it up even more this spring.
“I’m just trying to get better and keep improving,” he said. “I don’t want to settle for anything less. Just keep getting better. Here I have a lot of talent around me, so it gives me more opportunities to do different things.”
While many of the schools have been involved with Wilkes since his freshman year, Michigan State entered the picture more recently. He visited with coach Tom Izzo at North Central last week.
“He said he came in a little late recruiting me, but said he’s going to recruit me hard now,” Wilkes said.
At the end of July, Wilkes plans to cut down his list. Notre Dame has also picked up its interest, and an offer could be coming soon.
• Southport’s Paul Scruggs, who plays on the same Indy Hoosiers team with Wilkes, also had an in-home visit with Izzo last week.
“It went very well,” Scruggs said. “They feel like I’d fit great in their program and that I’m an outstanding point guard.”
The 6-3 Scruggs is averaging 13.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in eight games on the Under Armour circuit. In addition to Michigan State, Scruggs has offers from Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Kansas, Louisville and Xavier. He is the No. 32-ranked prospect in 2017 by Rivals.
Visits to Indiana and Xavier are on the horizon for later this spring.
“I’m just looking for what team really fits me,” he said. “What team is willing to get me better as a player and a person. I’m looking for a team that likes to get gritty. Michigan State, Louisville, Xavier, IU … I think all of my offers feel like that.”
Scruggs is also a member of the core Junior All-Star team.
• Lawrence Central’s Mekhi Biffle committed to Division II University of Tampa on Sunday night. The 6-2 Biffle averaged 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a senior at Lawrence Central. Pat Bacon (Lawrence North) averaged 19.2 points a game as a freshman at Tampa.
• Kyle Young, a 6-8 junior forward from Massillon, Ohio, was watched by Butler and Purdue over the weekend at the EYBL event in Westfield. Young, playing with King James out of Ohio, is averaging 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds through seven games this spring.
Young has offers from both Butler and Purdue. His recruitment has taken off, though, with offers coming in last week from Michigan State, North Carolina State, Old Dominion and West Virginia. His offer list also includes Clemson, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Xavier, along with a number of mid-majors.
Young had in-home visits last week with Michigan and Vanderbilt. He visited Purdue last fall for a football game.
“(Purdue) has been telling me they have a need in their program for a versatile wing,” he said. “I’ve been talking to them for a while so it’s a good (relationship).”
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649. Follow him on Twitter: @KyleNeddenriep.