Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 at 1:39 pm  |  10 responses

Dallas Star

Julius Randle is prepared to make one lucky college a 2014 Final Four favorite.

by Farmer Jones / photos by Kelly Kline

Julius Randle is on the phone recalling his recent trip to Gainesville, FL, where Billy Donovan and the UF Gators were the second of five programs to host an official  visit from a guy many consider the best player in the Class of 2013. “Coach D was telling me, ‘I think our style and our system really fit you, but I’ve never had a player quite like you,’” Randle says. “I used to compare myself to other players, but I do think I have my own unique style.”

It’s a bold statement for any player, even one as good as Randle, a 6-9, 240-pound forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy just outside Dallas, who is a consensus top-three player in his class. A versatile lefty with post moves, range and athleticism—and a motor that maximizes all three—he is indeed hard to pigeonhole with an easy comparison. True as that may be, Donovan’s quote also reminds us that coaches will tell undecided, top-three prospects pretty much anything. This is a courtship, after all, something Randle and his mother, Carolyn Kyles, fully understand.

“With these coaches, it’s like we’re dating right now,” she says. “So everything is wonderful.”

Six head coaches/programs have managed to catch and hold Randle’s attention: Florida, NC State, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Texas. Whoever wins his commitment will be blessed with a kid whose poise and perspective are rare at the prep level. Ask Randle his strengths?

“Leadership and versatility,” he says.

The skills matter, of course, and Randle isn’t lacking. Backing in or facing up, on the drive or the break, he’s comfortable with the ball anywhere on the court. Not that he’s settling. “I’m working on my spot-up shooting, off-the-dribble shooting, working 15 feet and in, elbows, mid-post, stuff where they can’t really double team me,” he says. “Because I get that a lot.”

There’s your versatility. As for leadership, the self-assured Randle says he takes after his mom. “She’s always been outspoken, never shy to share her ideas,” he says. “I think that’s just been something that’s carried on to me.”

Theirs is a symbiotic relationship, especially as they’ve immersed themselves in the unforgiving crush of attention that is big-time recruiting. “He’s taken the lead on it,” Carolyn says. “He keeps me grounded and patient. For almost a year, maybe more, I would approach him, maybe say something about a certain school. He’d say, ‘Mom, just relax, just enjoy this journey with me. When it’s time to get serious, I’ll let you know.’”

They’ve hit that point now, although Randle insists he’s not in a hurry to make his college choice. Many of his peers understandably have already announced, leaving them free to play their senior year without the distraction of a drawn-out recruiting process. Randle sees it less as drawing things out than simply being thorough: “I get to see what teams will have coming back for next year, what they’ve done this season and what will be the best fit for me.”

With the ’14 Final Four set for Dallas, Randle has all the more motivation to pick a school that allows him to chase his dream scenario: one-and-done, National Championship in his backyard and a David Stern handshake. “Whose dream wouldn’t that be?” he asks. “I’m just going to try to work my hardest and see where it takes me.”

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  • John

    I think KU would be the best fit for Julius’s game under Bill Self

  • Amack

    Nah #BBN. Patterson, Cousins, AD, Terrence Jones, Stein-Cauley, Noel, Poythress…Cal is known as a PG guy but that list at Kentucky alone proves he coaches everyone up

  • David

    Kentucky would suit his game and his needs best. If Wiggins picks Kentucky then all we need is PF to complete the best class ever assembled. Young seems poised to be a team player and come off the Bench and fill in the 2 guard and small forward position possibly play some point if needed, Lee at center and Willie Cauley-Stein if he returns at center. Randle at PF with Willis backing him up. Sweeeeet line up for a championship. All those guys have to be willing to share the limelight and think team ball and championship

  • David Oliver

    I’m a UK fan all the way, but I say Randle should stay in Texas. His indecision does not fit the UK paradigm

  • David

    Do you think Wiggins should go elsewhere also? It has been like this with all our recruits, example Noels and Georgetown, they want to take their visits and see which program is the best for them, I feel that is only wise on their parts. I say he and Wiggins have a good notion who they like and where they want to go. If Julius waits too long and lets say Aaron Gordon picks us, then Julius will be forced to narrow his list less Kentucky, but I still hope he chooses Kentucky I would say #9 or #10 championship will follow after that. Go Big Blue!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.hardin.127 Jimmy Hardin


  • Greg

    The place for Randle to go is Kentucky for 8 reasons 1) Kansas is not going to be in the 2014 NC even with Randle 2) UK is going to be in the 2014 NC 3) UK is going to win the 2014 NC 4) he will get to be on the greatest team ever assembled 5) He dosent want to go to Kansas because he wants to be one and done 6)He will be coached by the Best coach in college basketball right now7)if he goes to Florida he would be playing against the best ever assembled which could lower his draft pick 8) However David is correct if he waits till spring he might not get the opportunity to play for UK because if UK gets Wiggins there will only be room for one more player maybe or maybe not if Cauley Stien stays that would leave him having to play against UK leaving Florida as his best choice left

  • nathan

    Florida will be the number 2 team in 2013 and will be able to compete with Kentucky.

  • McLeansvillemonkey

    NC State would be a great fit. The high post offense caters to his game.He would be surrounded by a strong supporting cast especially with two excellent point guards that will get him the ball in scoring position.Very few schools will have both a Tyler Lewis and a Cat Barber on their roster together.Add in Rodney Purvis and TJ Warren as major scoring threats then Randall could not be double-teamed often.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.merrihew Bob Merrihew

    UK players lack fundamentals when they get to the pros, that’s a fact. They throw the best athletes on the floor and have a good system for “one and dones” If he wants to be a high draft pick and get a good first contract, it’s Kentucky all the way. I would take Syracuse, Goergetown, Texas, NC, or, even, my hated Duke over Kentucky. Play is a strong league, learn how to overcome adversity, be the man (not one of the crew), and your career will benefit.