There is always room to improve if you are Kris Wilkes.
Even if it seems like the North Central junior has nearly every skill imaginable on a basketball court, he still pushes himself and finds a way to grow just a little bit more.
Even if it means not hitting the gym for himself, but for someone a bit younger who means plenty in his life.
That help and teaching comes as Wilkes helps his younger brother, Anthony, try to improve. Becoming a teacher and working with his brother lets him revisit skills.
“He’s in sixth grade, he has a little way to go but try and teach him a bit so he can get prepared for seventh and eighth grade and high school ball,” Kris Wilkes said. “That always helps to teach somebody, to go through the motions. Freshens you a little bit.”
Finding family ways to keep improving can only push Wilkes to further heights, if that’s possible. Wilkes - 6-foot-7 small forward - currently is rated by online recruiting services as the No. 10 prospect in the nation according to Rivals and the No. 1 prospect in Indiana according to Prep Hoops Indiana.
Being the top player in Indiana for the junior class is no easy task, either. The state’s juniors includes many players who have Div. I interest like Snider’s Malik Williams, Park Tudor’s Jaren Jackson, Southport’s Paul Scruggs and more. Wilkes's talent and regard comes with interest from nearly every college program, especially in-state schools. Indiana, Purdue and Butler have already offered Wilkes, as have UCLA, Kansas, Illinois, Xavier, Vanderbilt, Cornell and Maryland.
Then there’s interest from schools like Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State.
It’s a list loaded with some of the biggest names in basketball in the state and country, but it isn’t a surprise given his abilities.
“He’s so versatile,” North Central head coach Doug Mitchell said. “He can put it on the floor. He can get to the hole and finish at the basket. He can shoot the three and makes free throws most of the time, and he’s 6’8”. At 6’8”, that’s a whole different animal.”
All of this skill and interest doesn’t mean Wilkes has any plans or favorites yet. He said he has most recently heard from Ohio State, Purdue and Cornell, but that he does not have any sort of top five, just that all the schools are about the same to him. He is however, beginning to think about where he’ll visit once he is ready.
“I’m thinking about taking an official visit to UCLA first, but I got to take my SAT first,” Wilkes said. “I need to get that schedule, take
that and I’ll do that.”
Recruiting can take a back seat over the next few weeks for Wilkes, though. He’s focused on North Central and the Panthers as sectionals loom.
“You know, it’s great, and I love hearing from them (college programs), but just trying to keep my head on straight, just keep getting better,” Wilkes said. “Right now, just focus on school ball and trying to win a state title.”