If the high-top fits ...
Threloff to visit Western Michigan this weekend
If DeKalb High School senior Jordan Threloff waited, Rising Stars club coach Mike Weinstein is sure the high-majors would eventually come to him with scholarships in hand. Coordinated 6-foot-10 centers have that sort of power over coaches.
It's not about the high-majors to Threloff, though. In a basketball world where most high school players are adamant about taking their game to the highest collegiate level, Threloff is simply searching for the right level.
"If he waits, he's going to get high-majors because of his size and skill level," Weinstein said. "But he could be out-recruited. He'd rather be a kid who's playing. By the time he's a junior, he'll be putting up double-doubles against high-major kids."
There are three remaining schools holding out hope that Threloff will bring such services to their programs. Sometime in the near future, he will let Drake, Illinois State or Western Michigan know which of them fits him best. His criteria to dwindle it to three were simple.
"First, I wanted to look for a school where I would have a good relationship with the players and coaches," Threloff said. "I think at those three schools I can have a good relationship with the players and coaches. Coach Weinstein always taught me if I can have a relationship with them off the court, it'll make it easier on the court. I also wanted to go somewhere where I was wanted, where I could go in and play. I know I have to work for it, but I want to play."
There's no doubt Threloff can step into a mid-major program next season and contribute. As he showed all spring and summer on the club circuit, he's beyond being a project big man. Facing some of the nation's top big men, such as Jared Sullinger, who has committed to Ohio State, Threloff more than held his own.
Joe Henricksen, a recruiting analyst for City/Suburban Hoops Report, took in a number of Threloff's games in the spring and summer and saw him develop throughout the offseason. Henricksen was especially impressed by Threloff's offensive progression, which included adding a jump hook and a more consistent midrange jumper. Henricksen has him at No. 11 in the state's senior class in his latest rankings.
"Threloff is a below-the-rim guy, but has the pure size, frame, solid base and body balance to establish position and battle around the basket," Henricksen said. "What I like about him is he knows who he is -- a big, on-the-block, back-to-the-basket player which are so hard to find. He has great size with that thick trunk and legs, but he is not a project.
"He has to be able to finish better around the basket against bigger, more athletic players and become a bigger factor on the boards. He needs to develop his body, add strength and, little by little, add more to his game. While he runs the floor well for his size, his lateral quickness and lack of pure athleticism prevents him from being a coveted high-major prospect."
Threloff will make his official visit to Western Michigan this weekend. He was at Illinois State last weekend and has also already visited Drake.
Overall, he's ready for the recruiting process to end.
"I'm enjoying it, but I'm starting to get a little tired of it," Threloff said. "I keep in mind every day there are so many kids who don't have any options. They have to try and beg to get a school. I have so many options. It's humbling."
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at email@example.com.