Having already received commitments from three top-50 prospects in the Class of 2017 coming into Sunday, UCLA continued to stack up when it landed top-20 recruit Kris Wilkes, a 6-7 small forward out of North Central HS in Indianapolis (IN). The five-star senior chose the Bruins over Indiana and Illinois during a press conference at the school. The other three top-50 recruits for 2017 are all in-state prospects: explosive point guard Jaylen Hands, wing Cody Riley, and big man Jalen Hill. Additionally, younger brother of freshman star Lonzo Ball, LiAngelo, is also slated to join the Bruins next season. The Ball brothers are fresh off a historic season in which they went a perfect 35-0 for the season, ultimately claiming the top spot in the national rankings.
Kris Wilkes has worn a No. 31 jersey since his elementary school days playing at the SportsZone on the west side. That No. 31 was for his favorite player, Reggie Miller.
So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Wilkes, a 6-8 North Central star and one of the top senior basketball players in the country, chose the school where Miller’s No. 31 jersey is retired.
Wilkes announced his decision to attend UCLA on Sunday at North Central, choosing coach Steve Alford’s Bruins over Indiana and Illinois.
“When I went to Westwood, it felt like my second home,” said Wilkes, considered a front-runner to win IndyStar Mr. Basketball this season.
Wilkes’ announcement marked the end of a long recruitment that had included Indiana since the eighth grade. While some Hoosiers fans are sure to lament missing out on such a talented in-state recruit, Wilkes said it was more about what UCLA had to offer than what Indiana did not.
“Indiana was the first one there and I have a lot of love for them,” he said. “It just came down to where I could see myself and I could see myself at UCLA, trying to win it all. I hope that (Indiana fans) are still there, but if they don’t like me anymore, you are always going to have people who don’t particularly care for where you go.”