Five-star 2017 forward Billy Preston has revised his list of top-five schools and added Indiana.
The 6-foot-10 power forward ranked No. 16 nationally by Scout.com said tonight his new top five is Maryland, Indiana, Kansas, USC and N.C. State, in no specific order.
That means IU and N.C. State are in and Arizona is out from a previous final four for the standout now at Oak Hill Academy after earlier stops in California and Dallas.
Preston’s mom talked in depth with Peegs.com tonight about Indiana, her son's top five and his visit plans.
She said that her son plans to take official visits to each of his new five finalists but they probably won’t come until later in the school year.
IU was recruiting Preston prior to his original cut to four.
She explained her son’s new top five and why they have been impressed with IU coach Tom Crean and assistant Chuck Martin.
“Indiana was one of the schools that was recruiting him at first,” his mom, Nicole Player, said. “What happened is he cut down his list based on a few factors. In a nutshell, he’s there (at Oak Hill). He’s passed his SAT. The question that were being attached to Billy Preston’s name in regard to his eligibility is now an exclamation point.
“I think he’s opened his mind to new possibilities. I had a conversation with coach (Tom Crean) last month. Also, Indiana was very visible during the last three live periods watching Billy and communicating with me.
“Billy likes to see when the coaches are interested in him. The same thing with N.C. State. They have a new associate head coach, and I think Billy likes him as well.
“With Billy, it’s about relationships and showing interest in Billy Preston the person and not just Billy Preston the basketball player. With DeAndre Ayton, who is one of Billy’s best friends, committing to Arizona, he was like, ‘I love Arizona, but I want to do my own thing.’ He let Arizona go and replaced them with Indiana and N.C. State.”
Crean and Martin made a big impression, his mom said.
“He said, 'Coach Crean is amazing.' He knows Billy is the No. 1 LeBron James fan, and they talked about that. Billy is the type of person that likes it when coaches take interest in his interests,” Player said.
“I’ve talked to coach Martin a lot, and I just believe what they are telling me. Their message is strong. It’s proven that Indiana is a basketball state. We played a couple AAU tournaments in Indiana, and it was one of the best basketball experiences we’ve ever had.
“Billy is up at Oak Hill, clearing his mind. He’s beginning to love the basketball culture. Going from California to Texas, there were (high schools) that were basketball giants, but now that he’s at Oak Hill, he’s really getting into the real basketball culture.”
She said he plans to take official visits to all of his finalists but added those probably won’t come until later so he can fully setting in at Oak Hill, a strong academic school as well as basketball powerhouse.
Former IU standout Troy Williams, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, played at Oak Hill.
“He may not schedule too many of his official visits early on, but he does plan on taking official visits to all five of those schools," she said.
Preston’s mom said trust is a big factor.
“For me, I definitely want to send my son with someone I trust,” she said. “I don’t want to make another hasty decision. For me, it’s about the integrity, about finding someone I’m comfortable leaving my son with thousands of miles away like I was able to coach with coach (Steve) Smith at Oak Hill.
“I think all of the programs are excellent. I think USC is up and coming and the other four have basketball tradition,” she said.
“I just want to find the right situation with the coaching staff. With Billy, the basketball will take care of itself. It always does.
“I want a coaching staff he meshes with well and understands the type of person he is and the type of player he is, and from there, the sky is the limit.”