Julius Randle, the top power forward in high school basketball, is no longer considering a pair of schools once thought to be atop his recruiting list.
The Prestonwood Christian (TX) star has crossed Tobacco Road rivals Duke and North Carolina off his recruiting list, according to Jason Jordan of USA Today. Randle, who revealed his freshly trimmed list of six schools Tuesday afternoon, also eliminated Oklahoma State and in-state recruiting hotbed Baylor.
Randle recently completed a series of in-home visits in which he and his mother hosted some of college basketball’s most salient head coaches. Now, only six programs remain.
Randle’s new list of six includes Kentucky, NC State, Florida, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. The coveted recruit recently added Florida to his list thanks to a relationship he forged over the summer with Gators head coach Billy Donovan, who coached Randle on Team USA at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Several sources tell Busting Brackets that Kentucky, Florida and Texas are the schools to beat in this recruitment. While most recruitniks will perceive Kentucky as the prohibitive favorite because of its strong reputation on the recruiting trail under John Calipari, I’m advised not to count out either Florida or especially Texas, the only local school still in play.
Randle plans to finalize scheduling his five allotted official visits over the coming weeks, by which point we should get a clearer picture of where he sits in this recruitment. Of course, judging by how quickly it has unfolded since the middle of the summer, this race could look a lot different then than it does now.
No more than two months ago, Duke and North Carolina, along with Kentucky and Kansas, were believed to be the strongest candidates in this recruitment. As of October 2, two of those bluebloods are no longer under consideration—this despite a clever [and admittedly desperate] pitch by one of the two coaches to lure the Texas prize.
Earmarking a favorite in the Randle sweepstakes has become a futile endeavor. You could have made a cogent case for either Duke or North Carolina, after all, as recently as the summer, then reaffirmed that stance in light of Randle’s glowing reaction to his in-home visits with Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams. Fast-forward to the fall and Duke and Carolina are out of the picture entirely.
The only certainty in this recruitment is that Julius Randle’s college future is still a way’s off from being settled.