[Premium article] Not only one of the top five junior basketball players in the state of Mississippi this year but also one of the best in the nation, <b>Emanuel Willis</b> is a 6-foot-7.5 forward who plays for Mendenhall (MS) High School.

Having already played three games this season, Emanuel is averaging in the 15 points per game range while being double and triple-teamed in all three games. He had his best game his last game with 20 points.

Emanuel made The Clarion-Ledger's pre-season Dandy Dozen team this year along with five other underclassmen. However, the Clarion-Ledger is not the only one that has taken notice of Emanuel. He has received numerous letters from colleges. "I have three shoeboxes of letters," said Emanuel with a slight chuckle. Looking through one of the shoeboxes to give me a sample of the schools that have sent him letters, Emanuel said that he has received letters from "Stephen F. Austin, LSU, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Miami, Washington State, Connecticut, Ole Miss, William & Mary, South Alabama, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Arkansas-Little Rock, Georgia Tech, and Princeton."

Obviously a highly thought of prospect based on the number of letters that he has received, you wonder how that makes a youngster who is just now starting his junior year feel. Emanuel, a very likeable and articulate young man, seems to be taking it all in stride. "It doesn't get in my head," Emanuel mentioned. "I get tired of receiving letters." In fact, Emanuel receives so many letters that he has a solution that helps other youngsters. "I give my friends a few of the questionnaires that I receive."

I will continue to provide updates on how Emanuel and his Mendenhall HS team are doing this season and how his recruitment is progressing.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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