Speaking during the Tournament of Champions at Washington High School over Thanksgiving, Indianapolis Park Tudor basketball coach Ed Schilling sang the praises of his precocious sophomore forward Trevon Bluiett.
"He started as a freshman, and he had a real good freshman year. He's got a chance to be really special. He can play inside and out, he can be a great rebounder, he shoots well. He was MVP of the state championship game as a freshman, so he's got a lot of potential.
"The big thing is he's got to stay on a mission to improve. If he stays focused and tough, he's as good as there is."
He enjoyed his first state tournament, but Bluiett isn't letting early success go to his head.
"Yeah, it was a pretty good feeling. It was a pretty good opportunity to start as a freshman. Not too many freshmen get to start, and not too many freshman make it to state and get to play. So it was definitely a blessing for me."
The 6'-6" athlete says his game has improved since spring.
"My perimeter skills are better. I can shoot better, my ball handling. And I've become more of a big man inside; I've gotten better at that."
A tremendous shooter, Bluiett considers that one of several strengths of his game.
"My strengths are my shooting, hyping my team up during the summer, and I'm starting to rebound."
He also is a team player willing to adapt his game to meet team needs.
"I'm more of a 2, 3, but during high school I've got to play 4 or 5. I'm perfectly fine with that."
What does he want to improve?
"I want to work on getting more aggressive in the post, making good passes, making smart plays to be more effective.
Illinois hosted Bluiett during a football game this fall. Bluiett enjoyed himself.
"We went tailgating, and then we took a ride around campus. We had an open gym, and then we went to the football game. It is definitely a beautiful campus, and Coach (Bruce) Weber is a good coach."
He found Illini players a unique challenge during pickup games.
"They were very competitive, and they were all big. I liked it."
A number of schools in addition to Illinois are tracking the youngster.
"Indiana, Purdue, Marquette, Georgetown, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Virginia are all talking to me. I have offers from Purdue, Xavier and IUPUI."
Odds against an Indiana player bucking trends and signing with Illinois are great, but Bluiett insists he will keep Illinois among his list of favorites.
"I'm considering all the colleges that are contacting me, although I'm not really concerned about colleges right now. I'm keeping an open mind."