Julius Randle Cuts List to 10, Schedules First Visit for Florida

Julius Randle has “trimmed” his list to 10, he announced via Twitter on Monday.

Comprising his list, as expected, are the four blue bloods who have been at the forefront of this recruitment all along—Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and North Carolina—along with in-state schools Texas and Baylor. NC State, Florida, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State round out the list.

Having yet to take an official visit and with ten schools spanning six states under consideration, Randle will almost certainly drag his recruitment into the spring, as originally planned. Expect the Plano, Texas native to be one of the last 2013 pieces to come off the board.

The biggest development in the Randle recruitment this week, however, involves where the Prestonwood Christian star will make his first of five official visits. Randle has confirmed he will take an official visit to Florida on October 6 for the Florida-LSU football game. Knowing what a weekend in Gainesville is like when LSU is in town, this is certainly a wise choice for Randle. But given the evolution of Randle’s recruitment to this point, it’s an even more surprising choice at that.

Florida, long overlooked as a horse in this race, has emerged as a viable contender, on par with Kentucky, Kansas and the three Carolina schools. Gators head coach Billy Donovan has left quite the impression on Randle after coaching him at the U18 FIBA Americas Championship. Donovan led Team USA to an undefeated record and gold medal in Brazil.

Donovan’s Gators already sport the top 2013 recruiting class at this juncture after nabbing Kasey Hill, the top point guard and No. 8 overall player in the class according to our FanSided150 rankings, and Chris Walker, second best power forward behind Randle and No. 4 prospect overall.

With Walker having committed  to UF in July, it’s tough to gauge why the Gators are so enticing to Randle, who I’m told is adamant about playing his natural 4, as opposed to the 5 in college. Florida may just be high on Randle’s list out of courtesy to Donovan, with whom Randle developed a tight relationship this summer. Or perhaps Randle is genuinely attracted to the school, even willing to share the floor with the next-best power forward in the class. Position names are just technicalities, after all.

Either way, there’s a new wrinkle in the Julius Randle recruitment begotten by head coach Billy Donovan’s work this summer with the U18 team. Kentucky, Kansas and Duke remain the three frontrunners in this recruitment—UNC and NC State are in play too—but don’t sleep on the Gators. Donovan seems intent on bringing in a monster recruiting class. Heck, he’s already got one already.