Shortly after the July evaluation period ended, Stokes, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound post prospect, began hitting the gym.
"I started these 5:30 workouts and conditioning," Stokes told Scout.com. "After the summer ended it was conditioning, now that that summer has ended it's about the skill work."
"I'm in the best shape of my life," he added. "I changed my mentality. Sometimes I feel like this summer I was saving my energy and now I feel like motor is going every play."
Despite proving to Scout.com he was worthy of a bump in rankings and deserving of a five-star rating, Stokes, of Memphis (Tenn.) Southwind, wasn't satisfied with his play over the summer.
"I think I showed spurts of what I can do," Stokes said. "I didn't win championships like I wanted to. We won one in Arkansas."
College coaches tracked him all summer and he's started taking official visits, but he said he's not focused on the recruiting process.
"It's going well," Stokes said of his recruitment. "I didn't expect to be this crazy. My mind isn't really on recruiting honestly. It really isn't. I'm taking my visits. I knew I'm going to take all five."
"I'm taking a visit to Kentucky," he said. "I'm leaving tomorrow."
" "As you remember they were in my top 6," Stokes said of Kentucky. "Then I cut them off. The talk slowed down, so I went ahead with a top 5."
"I wasn't really feeling UCLA," he said. "I was scheduled to go to UCLA and I changed that. Then all the sudden Kentucky was back in the picture. Now I'm back to feeling Kentucky. I'm not even close to making a decision though."
Memphis, the hometown school, has done a handful of things that standout to Stokes, but he made it clear that their proximity wouldn't play a role in his final decision.
"I don't think the hometown thing plays a part," he said of his decision making. "I do like the effort that Memphis has put in," he said. "Just doing small things like coming to my 5:30 work out during the contact period and coming to my house at midnight during the live period. I like the investment that Memphis that has put in."
Stokes, the No. 3 power forward in Scout.com's position rankings, said he's struggling coming up with a decision.
"It hurts that I have to tell people that I've been knowing for years, no," he said. "Telling guys no, that will be heartbreaking on my part."
When asked about signing during the period in November, which begins on the 9th, Stokes said he was unsure. He also said it was doubtful he would wait until the spring.
"I doubt I wait that long," he said of the spring signing period. "That's a long time from now. I may make a decision during the [first] signing period. As of right now I have no idea."