Keita Bates-Diop is a 6'-7" forward who played limited minutes on the varsity level last year but has become a high major college target with his play on the Illinois Wolves AAU team. When the spring started, he mainly scored inside and had trouble against stronger players. He has expanded his game since.
The Normal U-High athlete is starting to rebound at a higher rate and has added more strength since the spring. He knows it is important for him to continue to improve in both of these areas.
"I have been working on those because that is what I need to do at this height."
Major strides have been made in stretching his game out to the perimeter, including hitting jump shots, on a more consistent basis. He would like to play small forward and is working his way into that.
"I have been working on it. My shot has continued to get better by working on it hard in the gym."
Illinois coaches have seen the same improvement scouts are seeing in his game.
"They saw how much my perimeter game has stretched out and how I am still working on my strength. It has gotten better since they last saw me."
He has been keeping in touch with Illini coaches.
"I have talked to Coach (Jay) Price and Coach (Bruce) Weber on different occasions (recently). We talked about how I have been getting better and what I need to continue to work on. I am going to be going down there this August for some practices."
Bates-Diop updated what is going on with his recruitment.
"Illinois and Michigan have been the most involved so far. Other schools that have shown interest are Tennessee, Northwestern, and UIC."
College coaches lining the baseline were a regular occurrence at his games in July. What's it like to see them observing?
"You think about it at the beginning of the game, but when you get out there you forget about it."
The spring and summer was a successful one for Bates-Diop and his Wolves's teammates. He had several AAU programs pursuing him but is happy with his decision to play with the Wolves.
"The Wolves program prepares you for the next step which is college, and that is something I am really looking forward to. The coaching staff here is great!"
He enjoyed playing with his teammates, especially fellow high-major target Peyton Allen.
"I love playing with him! He is a great player, and he makes people around him better."
Bates-Diop is moving his way up the rankings in the class of 2014 in the state of Illinois. If he continues making the same strides he has made in the past four months, it could be scary!