Five-star basketball recruit Wilkes commits to UCLA


Austin Yattoni

Five-star small forward Kris Wilkes takes a jump shot during an open practice at Ubben Basketball Complex on Saturday, September 10. Wilkes has not yet committed to play basketball at Illinois.

By Matt Gertsmeier, Illini hoops columnist

Five-star recruit Kris Wilkes has announced his commitment to UCLA.

The six-foot-eight-inch wing from Indianapolis made his decision via a press conference at his high school.

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    Wilkes is ranked as the No. 18 best player in the nation and the fifth best small forward according to He is the second best player in Indiana and a top candidate for the Indiana Mr. Basketball award.

    For Illinois, Wilkes was a shot in the dark. He was always heavily favored to pick UCLA by many scouts and analysts. Wilkes was also considering an offer from Indiana.

    Wilkes took an official visit with Illinois on Sept. 9. He was joined by three commits from Illinois’ class of 2017. He visited UCLA on Sept. 23 and Indiana on Sept. 30.

    With the announcement of Wilkes’ commitment, it’s back to the drawing board for Illinois head coach John Groce. The Illini have already signed three commitments including four-star guards DaMonte Williams and Trent Frazier and three-star shooting guard Javon Pickett.

    Five-star center Jeremiah Tilmon is a verbal commit and is assumed to sign by this Wednesday or next semester during the spring signing period.

    The Illini now shifts their focus to Monday to await the decision of three-star center Mayan Kiir. He is deciding between Illinois, LSU, NC State, VCU and Long Beach State.

    Matt is a junior in Business.

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