This morning (well, 2 PM on the east coast, but it’s still technically the morning out west), 5-star SF Kris Wilkes from North Central HS in Indianapolis announced his commitment to UCLA Basketball. Wilkes is a 6’8” athletic freak, with long range and excellent ball-handling ability that should translate well at the next level.
Wilkes’s commitment fills out what has been an impressive recruiting class for UCLA. Prior to his commitment, UCLA had the #3 ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports’s composite rankings, so adding the #18 player in the country is definitely icing on the cake. UCLA had to beat out Illinois and hometown Indiana for his services.
Wilkes’s commitment has been something of an open secret amongst basketball recruiting services for weeks. While Illinois and Indiana had some appealing qualities, with Wilkes having a great relationship with Illinois’s coaches and Indiana being the hometown team, Wilkes felt that UCLA offered the best combination of basketball development and comfort, and on a certain level it’s hard to argue with that reasoning. Despite problems with the coaching staff’s ability to develop talent, UCLA has had 4 first round picks under Steve Alford, and should have at least one more after this year with Lonzo Ball, which is a testament to the UCLA brand in the eyes of the NBA. And with Bryce Alford graduating after this year, it stands to reason that a recruit of Wilkes’s ability would see an increased opportunity to show off his talents.
Here is a highlight video courtesy of Rivals.com:
What pops out on video is the complete skill set that Wilkes possesses. Wilkes has the ability to drive and finish at the rim, and also hit shots from range. Coaches have described him as a hard worker, which when combined with his length would lead you to believe he has the ability to become a plus defender. The biggest area of growth is going to be range, where Wilkes is a spotty 3-point shooter.