Omar Wilkes, a smooth 6-3, 170 pound shooting guard from Loyola H.S. in Los Angeles, Calif., has pared his list to just five schools this summer.
Wilkes told Rivalshoops at the recent Best of the Summer Tournament that he is looking at Kansas, California, UCLA, USC and Stanford. He said he has been offered by all five of the finalists on his list.
Back in the spring, Wilkes took an official visit to Kansas, and he has planned an official visit to California for the weekend of Sept. 7. He's also planning to take fall officials to both UCLA and Stanford before rendering a final decision.
Of course, Omar's dad Jamaal (nee Keith) Wilkes enjoyed a prosperous decade long plus career in the NBA with both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. He was an all-time great at UCLA before heading off to the pro ranks and winning titles with both the Lakers and Warriors.
Rivalshoops had the chance to sit down with Omar for a Q&A while out west recently, and here is a transcript of that interview:
Rivals Hoops: You have five excellent schools on your list this summer. Do you have a leader, and what are your plans on how to go about the recruiting process?
Omar Wilkes: Right now, there's no leader. They are all pretty much on even ground. I know the most about Kansas because I have already taken an official [visit] there. That doesn't necessarily mean that Stanford, Cal, UCLA or USC are behind. I have heard that other schools are interested now, so that could leave some doors open. I still want to keep my school list under six, go into the fall, make some official visits, and make a decision before the basketball season starts.
RH: Do you have a top two or three, or the four schools that you plan on officially visiting -- can we assume that they are at the top?
OW: They are probably the four schools that I am most informed about. If that's why they are the top four, that's it. It's not because I dislike the other schools or anything. I just know the most about those.
RH: Are you definitely going to wrap up the recruiting in the fall?
OW: Yes, I am going to get it done before the season starts, so I don't have to worry about it. I want to play, worry about my high school team and win a state title.
RH: What are the things that attract you to Kansas?
OW: I love Coach Williams and the whole staff. The camaraderie between the players and coaches, the atmosphere of the school. The basketball tradition is great. It's like a perfect school.
RH: How about Cal?
OW: I love how they are up and coming and have great recruits coming in in Leon and Wesley [Washington]. They are looking at me and David [Padgett], as well as Ayinde Ubaka. They are really promising, and that could be a great fab five recruiting class, if you will. So that's really intriguing, plus it's a great academic school. I have family up there too.
RH: Can you talk about UCLA?
OW: UCLA is kind of obvious. My dad went there and my sister goes there. It's in my backyard and they play my style of ball. Coach Wooden, everything. I kind of grew up as a UCLA fan.
RH: Now talk about the Bruins' cross-town rival in the Pac 10, USC.
OW: Coach Bibby played with my father [at UCLA]. He's a great coach, and I love how they are local too, and my friends the Craven twins play there, too, so that would be a comfort zone.
RH: Where does Stanford fit into the mix?
OW: Stanford is like an Ivy League school with top D-I basketball. You can't beat the academics, plus they have a great tradition and are known for winning. Academics are a great selling point for them, I don't want to sound like a broken record.
RW: Are there any external factors that could influence your decision?
OW: One thing about a lot of the schools is that I might be going there with [David] Padgett. So that's like a big plus for whatever school we choose.
RH: Are you guys a package deal?
OW: Um, a lot of the situations are similar for us. So in that way, yes. But if one of the situations fit him and didn't fit me, then no. We are each going to do what's best for us. It just happens to be that a lot of the situations are good for both of us.
RH: When should we expect a decision from you?
OW: Most likely in October, because I am going to take my visits in September.