Tie game, two minutes remaining, it was time for true leadership to be shown. Five-star forward Kris Wilkes did that for his Under Armour (UA) All-Camp team, setting up or scoring several baskets in that final stretch. The net result was a four-point win Thursday morning in the second day of UA All-American Camp.
Besides taking on more of a “point forward” role, Wilkes became very vocal in the final minutes, barking instructions at teammates to make sure they were on the same page and had the correct defensive assignments.
“I’ve been coming to camps a lot now and the people that stand out the most are the people that talk and work hard. I just try to get them to work hard and get their teammates involved,” Wilkes told Peegs.com.
Setting teammates up was something we saw more of from Wilkes this winter at North Central High in Indianapolis.
“I am tired of people saying ‘he’s a four,’ ‘he’s a stretch four.’ I don’t like that, I wanted to show my perimeter game,” Wilkes said. “Been trying to work more on ball handling and shooting. The shooting really helped out this game.”
The game was part of the round robin contests being played at the Under Armour All-American Camp held in Charlotte at Queens University. Wilkes has been joined here by close friend and Indy Hoosiers club teammate Paul Scruggs.
Are the two close enough to want to play at the same college?
“It’s always a possibility, we’ve talked about it a little bit,” Scruggs said. “It is not a for sure thing, but it is definitely a possibility.”
Indiana and Xavier are among the schools recruiting both players at this time. Hoosier assistant Rob Judson has been present for each of the duo’s games in Charlotte. Xavier head coach Chris Mack was there for the Wednesday night opener and an assistant was watching this morning.
Wilkes, however, doesn’t seem that concerned which teams or coaches work for the face time this month.
“They text me but as far as looking to see who’s there, it is not like that. I just want to go out here and play and just work hard,” Wilkes said.
He reiterated plans to include a pair of Pac-12 programs among his five official visits.
“For officials I know I am going to UCLA and Washington so far,” Wilkes said.
The Huskies emerged after hiring Michael Porter Sr. to their staff. Wilkes use to play with his son and namesake, the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2017.
“Michael Porter Sr., I have known him since a young age and he’s always been a good guy,” Wilkes said. “When I got the (recent) offer from there, that was pretty nice.”
He added that he’s never been out to those schools and the official visit is best way to get that done. Players are allowed five such trips where the expenses are picked up by the host school.
Despite that mindset, he wouldn’t rule out using official trips to nearby schools like Xavier, Indiana and Purdue.
“It is a possibility but I am not sure yet,” Wilkes said.
This spring Wilkes finished as the fourth overall leading scorer in the Under Armour circuit, averaging 20.0 points per game. That despite shooting just 21.4 percent from 3-point range and 46.6 percent from the free throw line.
Those two percentages weren’t reflective of the rates we saw Wilkes hit free throws and threes in high school during his junior season at North Central. And his shooting thus far in Charlotte is evidence that he’s getting back his shooting form.
“Yeah, I am starting to figure it out more and more,” Wilkes said of that slump. “The free throws. I wasn’t get any breaks playing with my team in Under Armour and I was getting tired at the free throw line and I haven’t worked on (overcoming) that a lot. Hopefully I can learn to play through fatigue and knock down my free throws and also more (long) jump shots soon.”
Wilkes will also be working to finally come up with a bit of focus to his recruitment.
“At the end of this month I am going to definitely narrow it down,” Wilkes said. “I am going to cut off all of the teams that haven’t offered me yet. That will be it but I am going to start going from there.”
In other words still a long way to go for the Indy forward’s eventual decision and a spring signing could be on his horizon.
“I am probably going to make my decision towards the end of my high school season,” Wilkes said.