Tuesday, March 19, 2013
What Julius Randle would mean for...
By Paul Biancardi
On Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. ET live on ESPNU, No. 3 overall recruit and No. 1 senior power forward Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) will announce his college decision from a list of finalists that is comprised of Kansas, Texas, Kentucky and Florida.
Whichever school he chooses, his skills and athleticism will make him an instant-impact player and program-changing recruit from day one. Simply put, he has the talent to change the landscape of college basketball next season with his decision. Consider this: As historically good as Kentucky's 2013 class already is, Randle would immediately become the Wildcats' top-rated recruit. That's how special he is.
So before he finally ends the suspense and makes one college program very happy, let's break down what a commitment from Randle would mean for each of his four finalists.
No. 3 recruit Julius Randle is down to Kentucky, Kansas, Texas and Florida.
What Randle would mean for Kansas
The Jayhawks have been on Randle since the beginning, and they've been on him hard. The returning squad at Kansas has good young size with upside around the basket, and Randle would fit like a glove. He would be an impossible matchup in the high-low game driving from the top or posting up down low. His versatility would allow him to be utilized in ball-screen actions where he can either roll to the rim or pop out for jumpers. With a strong core of perimeter players coming in to surround him, Randle would be the perfect exclamation point to an already monster class at Kansas. The offense in the frontcourt would go through him along with Perry Ellis, which would be a hard matchup for opponents to handle.
What Randle would mean for Texas
If the No. 1 player in the state and No. 3 player overall in the country would choose to stay home and play for the Longhorns, it would have a ripple effect throughout the entire state of Texas. Randle would have Kevin Durant-type meaning for the Horns, especially if Myck Kabongo returns, which the draft boards suggest he might. (Kabongo is currently projected as a late first-round pick or early second-round selection by ESPN's Chad Ford.) The Texas roster has great size, athleticism and strong perimeter play returning. The Longhorns have one of the biggest athletic programs and largest alumni bases in the nation, and Randle would have the opportunity to be the big man on campus.
What Randle would mean for Kentucky
At Kentucky, Randle would solidify the nation's best recruiting class and college basketball's best-ever freshman class. There is already enormous pressure on this incoming class to succeed at a high level. With Randle, the pressure would only increase, but at the same time he would greatly enhance their ability to reach their goals. Kentucky's current six-man class is an amazing collection by itself, but Randle would bring a physical set of tools and skills at the forward spot that is not seen in this group. Simply put, Randle could mean the missing piece for a run to another Final Four.
What Randle would mean for Florida
Landing Randle would keep this elite program on course for more greatness. The Gators are currently highly ranked and gearing up to make a run for their third national championship under Billy Donovan. Donovan coached Randle for USA Basketball, and based on their time spent together, Randle raves about how the coach taught him to read the game. Will it be enough to pull him out of someone else's backyard and get him to Gainesville? Seniors Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erik Murphy will depart Florida after this season, but there is still a ton of talent returning. Add Randle to a two-man recruiting class that already includes top-15 prospects Kasey Hill and Chris Walker and the Gators would be able to sustain this year's greatness.