James Balks talks recent visits and schools in the mix

Four-star center James Banks is continuing to make strides with his game, and talks about his recent visits plus what his future plans are.

Four-star center James Banks has almost as much upside as any prospect in the country. Now at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere, Banks is really sorting through the recruiting process and keeps on setting up visits and checking out campuses.

Ever since getting to La Lumiere, Banks has been focused on being a more complete prospect, and for him that means being a leader and developing his body.

“This year I have really been working in the weight room to get my body right as well as being high skill and high character on the court,” explained Banks. “I am trying to make sure that me being a senior I will be able to get these guys going and help the teams get win.”

Most recently Banks made an unofficial visit to Purdue along with several of his teammates for their football game, and the Boilermakers program definitely intrigues Banks.

“It was a chance to go to Purdue and watch a football game,” said Banks. “I was just there for a couple of hours. Right now they are just on me hard and talking to my mom. They are doing some really good things with their big men, especially A.J. Hammons and I am very interested. I am not sure about an official visit right now.”

While the Purdue visit was unofficial, Banks has made two official visits already. One was to Texas and the other to Vanderbilt.

About Texas, Banks said, “It was an excellent experience. They really treated me right and allowed me to see the ins and outs of Texas. I was actually their first official visit of that staff, and it made me feel special. I was actually the first visit of the year in any sport.” 

He continued, “I was there on a great weekend, the weather was great. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and met the coaches and saw the weight room, the visit really just got me in the flow of things.”

When it comes to Vanderbilt, Banks said, “It was a great trip. I really enjoyed getting to meet Coach Stallings and the assistant coaches there. Also I got to meet the players and talk to Damian Jones who is projected to be a lottery pick. I got to see how they worked out and how I would fit in their system, so it was a good visit.”

One school that could soon get a visit from Banks is Illinois. The Illini have recently picked things up in a big way with Banks, and he likes the opportunity in Champaign.

“They are void of a big man so I would have an opportunity to come in and start or play a lot right away,” noted Banks. “They came in a little late, but they have been in the gym a lot and are showing me a lot of love.”

Along with academics and a strong relationship with the coaches, Banks says he is focused on being able to develop at the school he chooses.

“As a freshman I would like to have an opportunity right away and get minutes,” said Banks. “I want to go to a place that there is a chance for me to develop and get better, but the best way to develop is on the court getting minutes.”

He went on, “I don’t want to put myself in a position where I go to a school with 5 seniors and juniors. Of course I believe in my game, but those guys would already be in college and there every day, so I want to put myself in the best position for me to succeed.”

For now Banks says there is no specific timeline for a college decision, it will simply be when he is ready and is 100 percent confident in a choice.

“Right now I am not sure when I want to decide because when the time is right, that is when I am going to know,” said Banks. “I want to be 100 percent in my mind. I don’t want to be rushed, but I also don’t want to be lackadaisical in my recruitment. When I know in my mind is when I will shut it down.”


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