LAS VEGAS -- Even if you'd never seen him play before, the most widely recruited top-50 player in the final live period of July is borderline impossible to overlook.

Thanks to a sweat-soaked throwback-style headband that holds back his floppy hair, which complements his adolescent beard, which somehow aesthetically enhances his gangly -- but skilled -- back-to-the-basket arsenal, Drew Timme is the colorful image of a basketball nonconformist. 

"It's kind of my thing," Timme said. 

Even in games where he's not seen as the best prospect on the floor, Timme still usually stands out as much or more than anyone. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in keenness and trash talk. Near the end of games, when opponents think they've got his moves and rhythms figured out, Timme will pull out a new technique and again show why he's a farrago of ripening basketball ability. 

That's partly why Timme fielded scholarship offers from nearly 30 notable programs, with some of the biggest (Arizona, Duke, Michigan State, Louisville, Texas) showing increased interest as the summer evaluation period came to a close. 

With most recruits, come the end of July in Las Vegas or events elsewhere in the final live period, there's usually a handful of schools left still chasing them; the courting process usually narrows the field. But Timme (pronounced like "Timmy") had a herd of coaches going to all of his games because all those two dozen-plus schools were still hopeful -- but in the dark. 

Timme's style on and off the floor is out of step with most top-level basketball prospects. Normally the recruitment and coverage of a top-50 player is well established by the time they finish up their grassroots career in the July before their senior year of high school. But with Timme, a four-star recruit who's set to finally disclose his list of schools/finalists in the coming week, it's been a puzzle to solve for coaches and recruiting analysts alike over the course of the 2018 recruiting circuit. 

"You've got all these programs recruiting this kid, and nobody knows where anybody else stands," one high-major coach said.

Timme is not regarded nearly as highly as No. 3 overall 2019 prospect Cole Anthony, but the two share one thing in common: they've kept their recruitments fairly hush-hush. (At this stage, many expect Anthony to ultimately pick Duke.) In fact, Timme directly called out a reporter earlier this summer who was trying to work his way around getting the 17-year-old to give up which schools he was prioritizing and/or which schools were prioritizing him. Timme never bit. He had his reasons for his privacy. 

"This was my last go-around with summer, and I didn't want the burden or stress of going through everything and telling coaches, 'Sorry, you didn't make it' or 'You made it,'" Timme told CBS Sports. "I'm a winner. I want to win. I don't want to focus on [coaches recruiting me]. I want to focus on my last summer, making it special, making it a good one to remember. Because that stuff can wait. But this is the last chance I get at this." 

Update: A day after this story initially published, Timme tweeted out his list of schools.

Timme, a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Richardson, Texas, who's ranked 48th overall in the 2019 class, enhanced his profile as July went on. Last year he played for Nike's Pro Skills travel team, but he and a bunch of his basketball buddies from the greater Dallas area, who are also being recruited at the D-I level, opted to team up and create their own team (Drive Nation), which wound up playing well over the course of the past three months.  

One of the biggest questions in college recruiting now is: What's going on with Timme's recruitment, other than his standing list of finalists? Timme said he's taken unofficial visits to every power-conference program in Oklahoma and Texas. He's hosted home visits with all the major schools in those two states with the exception of Oklahoma State and Texas. His father, Matt, played at SMU in the early '90s, so the Mustangs were considered a factor prior to Timme's push to top-50 status in 2018. 

Timme's also taken unofficial visits to Purdue and Gonzaga. Many Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC schools are knocking on the door.

His path to playing at a big program began when Illinois coach Brad Underwood got to him before anyone else; Underwood was the first to offer Timme a scholarship when Timme was 15 and Underwood had just taken the Oklahoma State job. Illinois, where Underwood is now, is in the final 10. 

But as for his recruitment, Timme shed some light on what works and what doesn't with him. 

"It gets to be a little much sometimes," he said of coaches reaching out. "It turns into an everyday cycle. Always texting, always calling you. You can't be like a normal kid sometimes. You have to be pristine every time. So that aspect of it gets a little annoying, but I'd much rather have it than not.

Timme expressed gratitude but also some mild irritation with how frequently coaches can reach out to him, and how some of that contact is almost robotic or feels unnecessarily mandatory. 

"Some coaches do hit you up every single day," Timme said. "And some coaches will say, 'I'm going to hit you up here or there.' That's how I like it. A little every now and then. You can just tell by how and when they hit you up, if that makes sense. Some conversations are just BS, or just talking you because so-and-so offered you." 

His skill set is fascinating at this age. Timme utilizes the post but is also a good ball handler and, in general, will get to the basket by whatever means necessary with or without the ball. He has terrific feet and can pass pretty much from anywhere on the floor. In watching him play approximately 10 games at Peach Jam in Las Vegas, I'd characterize the style as a intelligently haphazard. But there's a lot to work with, and it wouldn't be a surprise to look up in three years and see Timme has developed into a top-25 college player. 

Timme's said he is putting a premium on the programs who saw him early, but even more than that, he wants to play at a place that's put guys into the NBA who aren't prototypical power forwards or centers. 

"I want to see their track record with players like me, or my position, and a place where I can win," Timme said. "And make it to the NBA. That's why I do what I do. Whatever puts me and the school in the best position. ... I'm not a typical big man. [I'm looking for] a coach that has had players in the past that are not exactly like me -- but they were different, and he was able to utilize their different skill sets -- is what I look at, because I don't want to get pigeonholed."

Timme said he realistically hopes to make a commitment by early December. In talking with him, I didn't get the sense he wanted this process to lag into the second half of his senior year. So soon enough, his list of 10 will go out. But on that topic, 10's still a lot of schools to bring along for the ride in the next three or four months. Why so many? Why not chop it to six or five or four? 

"I think if you cut it down that big, I'll miss out on some stuff," Timme said. "I've visited a lot of places but I haven't been everywhere. I think in order to make the best decision you have to see a bunch of different places, even what a school has to offer. Cutting it to 10 gives me the opportunity to really sit back and look at each school. I know what I want, but I don't know where I want to go."

He's an enticing prospect because coaches at big schools can see him as the type of player who's good enough to be in the NBA down the road but also someone who's likely to be on campus for at least three years. Getting the best talent possible is the ultimate objective, but as others have watched Villanova use veterans en route to two titles in three seasons, coaches who are recruiting kids in that 25-60 range are trying to hit the recruiting lottery by landing talented prospects who need two or three years to meet their potential as college players. 

Get the guy who won't be one-and-done, but who ultimately goes to the NBA and helps you compete for a Final Four. That's the perfect prospect for a majority of coaches in power conferences.