Like his brother Steve, a senior linebacker at Notre Dame, Adonis Filer was first-and-foremost a football player.
That didn’t change until his junior season at Mount Carmel High in Chicago, when Filer decided to give basketball a serious shot. The results were impressive – he averaged 14.2, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, and earned MVP honors at a high-level tournament and All-Catholic League recognition.
He transferred to Bishop Noll High in Hammond, IN for his senior season, and earned Indiana All-Star Team honors while averaging 15.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 steals per game, and led the Warriors to the Class 2-A state championship game.
It wasn't until that spring, however, that Filer attracted any serious recruiting attention, and that put him well behind the curve. Most of the class of 2011 had signed in November, and with his options few, Filer took the advice of his high school coach, Drew Trost, and explored the option of going to a prep school.
"It's something I have to do," Filer told NWI.com last April, after deciding to enroll at Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts. "It will help me develop as a player and help me get prepared for the academics that are required at that level.”
"Everyone was saying he was a mid-major player," Trost told
NWI.com, "but I told him to get his head on straight, work hard and have a great season. I knew if he did that people would see what I see.
"He's a high-major basketball player."
Filer proved Trost's point in November when he emerged as a high-level Division 1 prospect, pursued heavily by Tennessee, Utah and Clemson and ranked as the nation's No. 28 point guard by Scout.com.
"I am so proud of him," Trost said after Filer signed with the Tigers. "Last year he grew so much as a player and a person. It was a joy to have him at Noll. He really matured a lot. When he first got here I told him how good he was and it's great to see him put the work in and accomplish his dream."
Filer's current coach, Notre Dame Prep's Ryan Hurd, describes him as “one of the more explosive point guards in his class.”
“What separates him is his athletic ability, and that he can finish well at the rim,” Hurd said. “We’re working on expanding his ability to include all five guys on the floor. He’s excited because he gets the chance to play with higher-level players at prep school. He's taking a lot of pride trying to figure everything out.”
Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Filer impressed him as “an ultra-competitive kid with good leadership skills, and an outgoing personality that I think will serve him well throughout his career.”
Versatility is another of Filer's strengths.
“He’s a guy who can defend a couple of different positions because he’s 6-2 ½ or 6-3, and has a strong college-ready body,” Brownell said. “He’s got pretty good speed and is fearless driving the ball to the basket, taking it into the paint and drawing contact. He’ll bring an aggressive, competitive nature that I think our team will need, especially as young as we’re going to be for the next couple of years.
“I think he’s a guy who will help solidify our backcourt tremendously. He’s different from (fellow point guard signee) Jordan (Roper) in that their body types are completely different. I think there are times they can play together, for certain, as they grow older.”
“He definitely has a college-ready body,” agreed Hurd. “He is physically strong, which allows him to defend at a high level. When you can do those things and adjust to the speed of the college game, you can play right away.
“For Coach Brownell to grab a player recruited to schools from the Big East, Big Ten, Pac 12, and the SEC, it’s a good get for Clemson. It shows that top-tier players are believing in what he and his staff are selling.”