Omar Wilkes, a 6-foot-2 junior from Los Angeles Loyola H.S., is a joy to watch on the basketball court. At a time when too many players are selfish, lack fundamentals and prefer style over substance, this shooting guard is a throwback.
A consummate team player, Omar understands the game better than many college players. He's also very talented. He's got range beyond the three-point line, his mid-range game is terrific and he has excellent body control when he gets in the paint.
Omar told us recently that Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, USC, Cal and Stanford all came to the Loyola campus in September to watch him work out. In addition to those schools, Omar is interested in Duke, Kentucky and Florida. "I have family in Florida," Omar said. "About an hour from Gainseville."
We asked Omar if he had a favorite school growing up and he replied, "Everyone assumes it's UCLA, because of my dad. I rooted for them, but it was really just because they're the local team."
Omar told us that the decision to stay close to home, or go away, is one that he is struggling with right now. "That will be a big part of my choice," Omar said. "Staying close to home my friends and family can see me play. But going away gives you the experience of being on your own and growing up." Omar went on to say, "my relationship with the coach and the team, and the environment of the school, will be big factors."
Omar said early playing time won't be crucial to his decision. "I want to play and contribute, but it's not vital to play right away."
As for the timing of his decision, Omar said, "I want to make a decision before basketball season next year, but I'll probably take at least a few trips."
Omar told us that he's doing fine academically and will have no trouble qualifying.
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