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Five-star forward Kris Wilkes commits to UCLA


Kris Wilkes (Kelly Kline, Under Armour)

While Steve Alford has begun a pressure-packed season in Westwood, he and his staff have continued to have tremendous success on the recruiting trail.

That continued on Sunday afternoon when Kris Wilkes, a 6-foot-8 small forward from North Central High in Indiana, announced his commitment to UCLA. That gives the Bruins five, five-star recruits in the past two recruiting class, with point guard Jaylen Hands as the other in the Class of 2017.

Wilkes and Hands headline a class that also includes four-star forward Cody Riley and four-star guard Jordan Hill. LiAngelo Ball, younger brother on Lonzo Ball, rounds out the class.

Indiana and Illinois were the finalists. He took official visits to each campus in consecutive weeks back in September.

Some recruiting analysts have said the newest commitment gives the Bruins the best recruiting class in the country, which up until this point was held by conference rival Arizona. The recruiting pipeline of Southern California and the Ball family -- LaMelo, a 2019 guard, has already verbally committed -- has been nice, but Alford just uprooted a top prospect from the Hoosier State. That’s impressive.

Wilkes is considered the No. 18 overall player in the nation by Rivals. He ran with the Indy Hoosiers in the Under Armour Association this past spring and summer. In 15 appearances, he averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 boards per game, shooting 53 percent from the field.