In covering recruiting now for 11 years (yes this makes me old), I have learned a lot. In a situation such as the one involving five-star small forward Kris Wilkes, there is no one way to glean information, no one way to get things figured, and there is almost never one consistent thing you hear as to what or why a kid is thinking the way he is.
Inevitably there is going to be some misinformation purposefully out there, there is going to be people who interpret information wrong and simply have bad information, and there is going to be accurate information.
What also can happen is accurate information can turn into misinformation within the course of two minutes, two days, or two weeks.
That is just the nature of covering recruiting what is correct can change, and what is incorrect can eventually be correct.
With that said and made clear, things have massively changed on what I am hearing within the last two weeks regarding Kris Wilkes. Some of it I adapted to quickly and believed, some of it I didn’t.
For instance I knew Xavier was sliding with Wilkes, that much was clear. It became obvious Kris was looking for a bigger campus and more of a “stage”. However what also was being said, which I didn’t believe, was that UCLA was rising.
I was first told that UCLA was making a strong move before their visit, but it sounded fishy to me, it didn’t jive with what I had heard in the past, so while not disregarding it, I downplayed it.
As it turns out, I am now very confident that I was wrong to do that. In fact, I tend to think I was very wrong, as now I think the Bruins are really in there, heck based on my information they are the definite leader.
Does this mean Kris Wilkes is going to UCLA, NO IT DOES NOT , what it does mean however is that there is a good shot that Wilkes ends up going far west for college, and not an hour south to Bloomington or two hours northwest to Champaign.
A school that I once felt, and was told, was nothing more than a token visit, has thrown itself into the race. The person who I feel is the one single best source of information on this recruitment has told me he feels UCLA leads. This is also a person I have known for six years, a person I feel would tell me the truth on a situation as he currently sees it.
That said very plausible situations can play out here making that information incorrect. Kris can change his mind, Kris could have told this person something that made him think UCLA when it wasn’t meant to be doing that, Kris could have lied to this person, or this person could have lied to me.
What is the exact truth, I don’t know. I just know right now my best information tells me UCLA is in the best position with Kris Wilkes.
So the question obviously becomes where do things go from here in this recruitment.
At the moment all the best information I have is telling me we are more like weeks from a decision as opposed to days. Kris on and off the record has told people to think end of the month, my sources behind the scenes have told me more of an end of the month type of thing, and the coaches involved also are being told more of an end of the month type of thing.
With that said, he has narrowed it to three, he isn’t taking visits, and he has all the information he can have on the three situations he is considering. It would be absolutely stupid of me to take “end of the month” as a gospel. As we start getting to the end of the week, I think we can start to put Kris Wilkes on commitment watch.
Maybe that commitment watch will last a few weeks, maybe it will last a few hours, I have no way to know that. I long ago gave up trying to figure out why kids make decisions when they do, usually there is no logic behind it. Some wait for the sake of waiting, some decide before they are ready, some just wake up one day and know where they want to go and end it right then and there.
So as we go down the stretch, I can honestly say none of the three schools would totally surprise me. I think Illinois is fighting the steepest battle because while I think the assistant coach relationship might be the strongest between Illinois and Wilkes, they don’t have that one factor that pulls in Wilkes from head coach relationship, to tradition, to location, to playing time above the other schools.
Indiana obviously has the location and the home state pull, and UCLA has the “Hollywood” factor and the fact that he currently feels best about how he would fit in there as a player.
What will happen from here on out, there is no way to predict, however after months of seriously following this situation this where things currently stand in my opinion. With all of that said, it is important to note that once you get done reading all of this nearly 1,000 words, a curveball could be thrown and we will again be searching for the new and right information on where Kris Wilkes is headed.