Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Julius Randle commits to Kentucky
By Dave Telep
What a difference a day makes.
The Kentucky Wildcats, less than 15 hours after their elimination from the opening round of the NIT, received a commitment Wednesday from Julius Randle, the nation's No. 1 power forward and No. 3 overall recruit in the Class of 2013.
Randle selected UK over Kansas, Florida and Texas.
With a pledge from Randle, John Calipari has secured the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for the fourth time in his five-year tenure in Lexington.
Randle joins No. 1 point guard Andrew Harrison, No. 1 shooting guard Aaron Harrison, No. 1 center Dakari Johnson, No. 3 small forward James Young, No. 9 power forward Marcus Lee and three-star power forward Derek Willis in the Wildcats' 2013 class. Randle, Young and the Harrison twins are top-10 overall recruits, while Johnson and Lee are in the top 20.
The addition of Randle also steers Kentucky into unprecedented recruiting territory. The Wildcats have assembled, on paper, the No. 1 recruiting class of all time.
This group of Wildcats has six top-20 recruits, four of whom are the No. 1 player at their respective position. Michigan's 1991 Fab Five class had been the standard-bearer for recruiting classes. UK's group is larger, deeper and more talented.
Randle missed most of his senior season at Prestonwood Christian in Dallas due to a foot injury. He played in seven games, most coming at the end of the season, when he returned to lead his team to a state championship.
Randle averaged 25.1 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists, made 75 percent of his free throws and shot 39 percent from 3-point range.
His high school coach, Chris Mayberry, sees an enormously high ceiling for Randle as a college freshman.
"I've talked to him quite a bit, and I think the sky is the limit," Mayberry said. "We've seen a vision of what he could be, especially in the last two games [of his senior year].
"I would say it's probably not as much the skill on the court as much as it is his competitive nature and the work that he's going to put in that's going to make him super successful."
Randle is a Jordan Brand All-American and McDonald's All American. His game is predicated on strength, power and versatility. At 6-foot-9, he can play in the post, where he's an excellent rebounder, but he is also a threat with his jumper and ability to create for himself and others.