Big man has a lot of upside

Arizona's quest for a big man has them looking at a wide variety of post players. Some are tall and athletic, others are shorter and strong. Some are polished products, while some are very raw. One potential recruit is the son of a rival's standout.

Jordan Wilkes is a legit 6-11 center from Los Angeles and happens to be the son of former UCLA standout Jamal Wilkes. The two look a lot alike and the elder Wilkes was in the stands to watch his son compete in the Las Vegas Pump N Run Tournament.

Wilkes is long and lean and is just starting to get used to his body after a rapid growth spurt the past few years. He's still a little awkward, but is very athletic. He is somewhat similar to Channing Frye at that stage, mobile with a nice shot, but is a little less coordinated than Frye was as a senior at St. Mary's.

His dad may be a Bruin, but Wilkes actually grew up an Arizona fan. He can date his interest in Arizona back to some of the best days for the Wildcat faithful.

"I was a huge fan," Wilkes confessed.." I was watching in 97 when they won it all."

Wilkes is used to the recruiting process after his brother Omar went through it two years ago. Oddly enough, Omar signed with Kansas but has recently left the program. Omar's experiences have made Jordan a bit wary, but at the same time he has yet to spend a lot of time dwelling on the big decisions ahead.

"I still haven't thought about it too much," Wilkes admitted. "I know it's a big decision, so I'd better start. As of now I'm still wide open."

After his brother's experiences he knows he has to be careful. He has learned that some coaches will tell you anything in an effort to land your talents. In Omar Wilkes' case he was recruited by the Jayhawks as much for his friend David Padgett as he was for his own abilities. The younger Wilkes will be very careful about what he believes and that could make this recruiting process even harder for the up and comer.

A lot of teams are still evaluating the big man. He's hearing from the entire Pac-10, but doesn't have a ton of offers at this time. He has a ton of upside, but there are some negatives he must overcome. There have been questions about his strength and aggressiveness, and a lot of coaches want to see how he develops as he grows into his body.

Of course there are a ton of positives. He can run the floor and should get faster as he matures. He's got great length and when he is active he can be a terrific shot blocker. He's go a nice stroke and can knock down the 15-footer on a consistent basis.

The Wildcats have been out to see him play on a few occasions and have been in contact with him. Wilkes is very intrigued with the Wildcats.

"They're showing some interest," said Wilkes. "That' s definitely a possibility. I like how they run a lot. That's really my style I think."

Since both his father and his brother have been through the recruiting wars, Wilkes admits that they will be a factor in helping him decide. In the end he'll make the call, but he's got some informed people around him to help with his decision.

"It's another opinion and he will definitely help me in making my final choice," Wilkes said of his father. "Whoever my family likes will be there in the end because they want what is best for me."

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: Wilkes has a ton of upside, but is still very raw. If a team has a year or two and some patience, then Wilkes could pay off big. In some ways he is similar to Kirk Walters, and the Cats' may need more of an instant contributor from this class. Expect the Cats to stay on Wilkes, but he's probably a fall back recruit as of now.

Photos by Carl F. Shifflette III


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