"The visit was was phenomenal," said Rakocevic, who has become one of West Virginia's top basketball targets in the recruiting class of 2016, albeit after a late start to the process. “My whole family went – my brother, my Mom and my Dad, and we all said the same thing. It blew us away. It was just spectacular. The facilities and the coaching staff, they were all top notch.”
West Virginia made up a lot of ground in a hurry, and now appears to be a major player in Rakocevic's recruitment after not even being listed in a “Final 10” that the Illinois senior had decided on as a cut list.
“It's kind of funny,” he said of WVU's late push. “They thought I had committed somewhere, but when they found out I hadn't they called and asked if I would be interested in visiting. I knew about West Virginia through Jevon Carter, who I've played against and known all through school, so I said yes. My interest has definitely grown now that I have seen what they have to offer.”
A pick-and-pop or stretch four, Rakocevic patterns his game after mobile bigs such as Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons. One of the other schools in pursuit, Wisconsin, styles him as the next Frank Kaminsky. He can put the ball on the floor, passes it well and can move down in the post when necessary, although that's not his forte yet, as he has just 205 pounds on a six foot, 11-inch frame.
“Coach Andy Kettler talked to me about that on my visit,” said Rakocevic, referring to the strength coach of the West Virginia's hoop squad. He told me, 'I think we can put good weight on you,' and was telling me how they would do that. I am on the block a lot in high school just because I am so much taller than anyone else. But they do put me up high some against the zone or I step out to the corner and shoot the three. I can develop my game a lot of different ways.”
Rakocevic's familiarity with Carter should help WVU's recruitment, as will the Mountaineers' roster situation. Jonathan Holton departs after this year, and both Nathan Adrian and Devin Williams are juniors, with the latter having the possibility of declaring for the NBA draft following the 2015-16 season. That would leave a lot of potential playing time for Rakocevic, and has helped put West Virginia alongside schools such as Southern California, Wisconsin, Indiana and Tennessee.
"West Virginia is up there high,” Rakocevic confirmed. “I am in the process of scheduling a visit to USC, and I may take another one, but I probably won't take four or five. I would like to decide by the end of October so I can get in the early signing period and concentrate on my senior season of high school.”