Per a text message, Randle informed Rivals.com that he is down to Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas.
Eric Bossi, Rivals.com August 27th 2012
6’9 and 240lbs, each time he steps to the court, Julius Randle fits to the tee, the Ricardo Gathers
mold of “man among boys”. Little doubt that except for the NBA’s stipulations regarding draft eligibility, Randle would most certainly entertain the jump from High school to the Association. The stipulations, however, remain in place, and Julius Randle
appears destine to play at least one season of NCAA D1 basketball. His recruitment is the stuff of headlines, and his game the stuff of YouTube and MixTape legend. For all the sizzle surrounding his game, it will be the substance determining Randle’s short and long-term basketball success. Recently bumped to the #1 spot in the Rivals Top150, Randle is no stranger to the scrutiny afforded his play and pending commitment. For every lights-out Rivals #1, (LeBron James
’03, Dwight Howard
’04) there is a mixed-bag #1 (BJ Mullens ’08, Josh Selby ’10). The 6’9 power forward out of Plano (TX) has secured the Class of ’13 #1 spot. A tremendous honor, but nothing more than a Wikipedia byline once he inks his Letter of Intent and embarks on his collegiate career.
AREAS OF OPPORTUNITYPROJECTION
Julius Randle possesses the quicks and agility of a D1 3, coupled with the strength and physicality of a low-post banging 4. All but unfair at the High school level, Randle’s speed/size combo is rare among all but the elite collegiate hoopers. There is a surprising ease and flow to Randle’s play, which contradict the explosive core of his game. On the offensive end, Randle is a multifaceted menace. He displays a variety of low-post moves, which appear more natural than forced. Left-handed by nature, Randle can finish with either hand but clearly prefers his dominant. Elite above the rim, the 6’9 PF also features a soft touch within the paint and has the skillset to take advantage of his opponents defensive shortcomings. Outside the key, Randle shows promise from long-range and a quality midrange jumper. His height and bounce allow for consistently clean perimeter looks and he appears comfortable pulling the trigger. In the open court, the Plano (Tx) senior carries above average handles and occasionally breaks out an impressive crossover. Owing to exceptional body control and stellar coordination, Randle routinely blows past defenders off the dribble and avoids in-lane contact as he finishes. Although he maintains the dexterity to avoid traffic/contact, he also thrives in finishing through it. As a junior, Randle averaged 21.0 points per game off an impressive .652 field goal percentage. On the defensive end, Randle brings a physical presence to the lane and flashes moments of brilliance when timing and rejecting ill-advised shots. Although his 2011-12 rebounds dipped a bit in 2011-12 (8.8 rpg vs 11.8 rpg 2010-11), he is strong on the glass and displays a strong second bounce. Fittingly, the 5-star forward led his 2011-12 Prestonwood Christian Academy
squad to a Texas 5A state title and an overall record of 27-4.
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AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
Finding fault in Randle’s game is challenging, but no game is perfect. The aforementioned drop in rebounds is somewhat eye-catching. At 6’9 and routinely the biggest and most athletic on the court, 8.8 boards per game comes in a little less than expected. Given his lofty shooting percentage (.652) and the his team leading 21 points a game, the opportunity for offensive rebounds may have decreased. Not a cause for concern, but worth watching. As mentioned, Randle displays strong handles, but there is a tendency to over-dribble when a quick pass would be more effective. The man can pass (2.6 apg 2011-12), and may find himself that much more effective when the opposition has to honor the dish as opposed to simply collapsing the lane each time the PF drives. The dribble is controlled, but given his 6’9 frame, the bounce is necessarily high. Quick-handed D1 defenders will look to take advantage unless this is further tightened. Each of the listed items is more the result of splitting hairs than identifying glaring weakness.
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With no substantive weakness and an NBA-ready physique, there exists no clear ceiling to Julius Randle’s game. One and done is all but a given, and justifiably so. There remains an opportunity for fine-tuning. Defensive technique and footwork can be upped, consistency from range can improve, and he can dish a little more than dribble, but none should present much of a challenge for an athlete of his caliber. As he wraps the High school portion of his basketball career, I project Randle in the range of 23-26 points and 10-11 rebounds per game and en route to a 4th consecutive trip to the Texas 5A title game. My guess is his jump to D1 is less about transition and more about the continued evolution of his game. He should thrive under high-level and disciplined coaching, and would thrive in the NBA Preparatory Academy, more commonly known as the University of Kentucky, and Coach John Calipari. I think it no stretch in projecting Randle (freshman year) in the 16-18 point and 9-10 rebound range, regardless to to his landing spot. Freshman All-American would be all but expected, and Fresham Player of the Year, well within reason. Should his game grow to include consistency from range and better ball distribution, the ’13 5-star has the makings of a Top 10 NBA selection. Mix in improved rebounding and defensive techniques and top 10 gives way to top 5. His perimeter and dribble-drive may ultimately land him a small forward’s role, and not many 3’s come to mind whom would look forward to drawing Julius Randle as a defensive assignment. A star in High school. A near certain star in college. I have little trouble projecting more of the same for Julius Randle once David Stern calls his name early one June evening, 2014.
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