A.J. Riley's Game Takes Off With Wolves

Having a stabilizing force in the backcourt who elevates the strengths of his teammates is a quality college basketball coaches seek. A.J. Riley of Peoria Manual has those qualities. He is a solid all-around player who makes others around him better and does whatever it takes to win.

A.J. Riley is a 6'-1" combo guard who has elevated his stock this spring and summer playing on the Illinois Wolves 16 and Under AAU team. The class of 2013 prospect has enjoyed the experience of playing with and against the top players in Illinois. This spring was his first real taste of high-level competition on the AAU circuit.

"I am not really used to all this. I have never been on a good team before. Everything has been going good. The Wolves have treated me like family and showed me how to win. I think I have played all right. My teammates help me out a lot."

Riley can attack his man off the bounce or pull up and hit a mid-range jump shot. He is a good passer, moving the ball around the perimeter and making solid decisions with the ball in his hands. He is an excellent on-ball defender, using his quickness and athleticism to give opponents problems.

Riley described his game.

"I am a pass-first guard that likes to get my teammates involved. I don't really care about all the other stuff. I just want to win."

His play during the AAU season, combined with his sophomore season at Manual, is making him a known commodity in recruiting circles.

"I have received letters from UIC, Stanford, Illinois, and Eastern Illinois."

Riley and his family have a special connection to the Illini basketball program.

"I like how they are a family. I also like Coach McClain. He used to coach at Manual, so I know him a little bit. He and my dad were best friends. My dad was a janitor at Manual when he coached there."

This past December, Riley played in the Shootout at the Hall, which is a showcase event for many of the top teams and players in Illinois. It was an experience he will not soon forget.

"It was a great experience! The floor is bigger than it looks on TV. I got winded a little bit, but it was fun!"

Playing in an event like that makes Riley want to play at the next level even more.

"It makes me work even harder, having the dream of going to college and playing on a stage like that."

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