Julius Randle: Most Likely Destination Among Six Finalists
Julius Randle: Most Likely Destination Of Six Finalists
Julius Randle, one of the top basketball recruits in the 2013 recruiting class, narrowed down his list of potential schools to six on Monday.
What was originally ten schools is now down to six as Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, N.C. State and Kansas made the next round. The schools that Randle removed from his list were Duke, North Carolina, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
The biggest surprise on the list of cuts had to be North Carolina. They seemed to make Randle one of their top priorities in the 2013 recruiting class and their home visit last month signified that. All we know now is that UNC is no longer in the running to land his talents.
As far as the rest of the schools go they should be happy to still be in consideration because Randle is a top-tier talent. The 6-foot-9, 225 pound power forward is an intimidating presence down low and is able to create mismatches on the perimeter. Randle can bully defenders down low or catch the ball outside the lane and drive to the hole. He plays extremely hard and has a high motor, which will help him at the next level. At the rim he finishes with a nice touch and he's a solid rebounder.
Although his list has been narrowed down to six it still seems like he has a favorite. Here's the most likely destination for the nation's No. 2 recruit out of his six finalists.
6. Oklahoma Sooners
Out of all of the teams that are on this list it seems that Oklahoma is the farthest away from signing Randle.
Last season, under first year head coach Lon Kruger, the Sooners finished 15-16 (5-13 in Big 12). Ever since Blake Griffin departed back in 2009 the Sooners have not had much of a contender and they have struggled to gain back some national prominence.
It hasn't hurt them, for the most part, on the recruiting trail as they brought in two four star players in last year's class and already have a four star recruit pledging in the 2013 class.
If somehow the Sooners can sign Randle it would come as a big shock to the rest of the teams but that doesn't seem likely to happen.
5. Texas Longhorns
The other half of the Red River Rivalry seems to have a little better shot at landing Randle, but not much.
Last year Texas finished a respectable 20-14 (9-9 in Big 12) while making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament as an 11 seed. They lost in the first round to Cincinnati but for the most part it was a successful season.
So far they do not have any recruits in their 2013 class but their 2012 class was stacked and rated as the fourth best in the entire country. Highlighted by the No. 8 2012 prospect C Cameron Ridley, along with C Prince Ibeh and PG Javan Felix, the future looks bright in Austin.
Regardless if Texas can land Randle they seem to be building their success with solid recruiting classes but it would never hurt gaining another five-star commit either.
4. North Carolina State Wolfpack
One of the things that N.C. State has going for them that none of the other teams on his list really have is a family connection to the program.
Randle and his family are close to Wolfpack guard Rodney Purvis and his mother so that definitely sets the Pack apart from the others. Another thing that N.C. State can bank on is last year's success and their reemergence on the national scene.
It was their best season in recent memory as they finished 24-13 (9-7 in ACC), finished second in the ACC Tournament and made it all the way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. That type of recognition has already paid off on the recruiting trail as they secured a verbal from the No. 3 PG in the 2013 class Anthony Barber
The family connection along with the relentless pursuit by head coach Mark Gottfried has gotten them at least this far but it still might not be enough to fully persuade the elite talent.
3. Kansas Jayhawks
When it comes to recruiting battles over some of the top players in the country no list can be complete without a powerhouse program like Kansas on it.
As far as the Jayhawks' chances at signing Randle goes they seem to have a pretty good shot. It is never a bad thing to make a national championship appearance and although they fell short it just reaffirmed everyone's perception of Kansas as a perennial title contender.
Last year's recruiting class wasn't as flashy as in years past, it still ranked as the No. 13 best 2012 class, but they have brought in some solid players that head coach Bill Self can mold his way. The beginning of the 2013 class is highlighted by two four-star PG's but it can use some big boys on the list and that's where Randle comes in.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if Randle ends up in Lawrence but they are still outside of the top two teams at this point.
2. Florida Gators
Florida has been one of the early surprises so far for the 2013 recruiting cycle. They made the biggest splash early in the recruiting period by signing two of the top players in the country.
The No. 2 PG Kasey Hill and the No. 4 PF Chris Walker have both committed to play in Gainesville and it propelled the Gators' class to the top spot in the class rankings. It says something about what Billy Donovan has continued to do at Florida by getting both of these guys early. He's bringing in top talent and as other top recruits see that it will only attract them more.
Florida is No. 2 on this list because Randle has only taken two official visits and the Gators were one of the two. The best thing that they have going for them in the race to land the talented player is that Donovan coached him on the United States' under-18 national squad.
The Gators haven't quite received the attention that some of the other teams on this list have had in the pursuit of Randle but they should not be overlooked. With the incoming class and Randle's existing relationship with Donovan the Gators have a fantastic shot to secure his commitment.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
The only team that seems to have a better shot than Florida at landing Randle is Kentucky.
To nobody's surprise the Wildcats are once again in the running to gain one of the top 10 players in the country. They have already nabbed the top two players at their respective positions when the Harrison twins committed just last week. John Calipari is a recruiting master and once he shows interest in a player it's hard for them to turn him down.
Kentucky has so much going for them already. Last year's national champions, their entire starting five getting drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft and an already stellar 2013 recruiting class. What's not to like?
Randle has the potential to be another one-and-done player so his main concern is being able to win right away. Kentucky is built for just this type of player and it seems like a match made in heaven, at least Big Blue nation thinks so.
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