Successful Summer Launches Riley

Peoria Manual guard A.J. Riley had a very successful AAU campaign with the Illinois Wolves 16 and under program this season. He was a leader on his team and played great in whatever role he was put in. College coaches have taken notice as he recently was at DePaul on an unofficial visit.

A.J. Riley is a tough and hardnosed guard that plays great defense. Offensively he is a nice combo guard that can facilitate the offense when needed or look to score when asked. He described his game as being unselfish.

"I am a pass-first point guard that wants to get the win," said Riley.

One of the most impressive aspects of his game is the leadership he showed on the Wolves during the summer. He was always elevating the play of his teammates.

"It is about building a relationship with your teammates where you can talk to them," said A.J. "All of us were close so when I had to be a leader it wasn't a problem. I had other teammates that would get on me when they needed to be leaders to me. It was a team effort."

The DePaul coaches were impressed with what he brought to the table during the July evaluation period and invited Riley to visit the campus.

"When we first walked in, the guys were warming up," said Riley. "They sat us down and gave us a sheet to follow how their practice was going to go. We watched them practice. They had a very nice practice. Then they showed us the weight room. After that we walked around the campus."

Riley discussed what he liked about the campus and practice.

"They have a beautiful campus," said Riley. "It was really nice. The practice was nice. Everything is faster than in high school. They have great coaches there and they were on everything."

He was also impressed with the Blue Demons facilities.

"I wasn't used to seeing facilities like that," said Riley. The facilities were really nice."

The guard likes the way the Big East program plays style-wise and feels it fits his game.

"I like how they get up and down the court," said Riley. "They seem like a transition team."

Oliver Purnell has been called "The Rebuilder" at DePaul. Riley sees the team as an up-and-coming program.

"I think in a couple years they are going to be nice," said Riley. "Of course they are a work in progress, but I think they are going to be good."

He spoke briefly with Purnell as the coach was appreciative to have the Manual junior on campus. He had not heard much from the staff about recruiting him before the visit, but after his trip there is very much a mutual interest. Several schools have already stepped up to the table with offers including a slew of schools from the Missouri Valley.

"I have offers from Bradley, Drake, SIU, SIUE, Wright State, UIC, Creighton, and Northern Iowa," said Riley.

Schools showing significant interest include DePaul, Illinois State, Wichita State, Missouri State, Valparaiso, and Colorado State. Riley knows what he is looking for in a program.

"I am looking for a school that gets after it on the defensive end and has great player development," said Riley.

What is his timetable for a decision?

"I am not for sure when I want to make a decision. I think whenever I feel comfortable with a school I will go ahead with it."

The rising junior is looking forward to a big year at Peoria Manual where his head coach is Derrick Booth, the brother of DePaul legend David Booth.

"It is going to be a good season," said Riley. "We are looking to compete for a state championship. We have Jeff White, Jacoby Roddy, and Landis Farmer coming back as seniors. We are looking to come together and try to win."

Riley will certainly be a key player for them this year and college coaches including the Blue Demons will be closely tracking his progress throughout the season.

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