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September 17, 2012
Decision day is not likely to arrive in the next few months for the class of 2013's top player, Julius Randle, but there has been progress in his recruitment.
The 6-foot-9 senior from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian has now completed his first five in-home visits and just returned from his first official visit - a weekend trip to Kentucky.
Duke: "It was pretty good. Coach K didn't have to do anything special as far as bringing anything to show off. He just had to be himself. Just having Coach K in my living room was amazing. He was teaching me things about my game and telling me how he can develop me as a player at Duke."
Kansas: "I think Coach (Bill) Self's visit was probably one of the best of the week or maybe even the best at selling his program and why I would fit there. He explained to me what he would want me to do and how he would help me get better. It was at the end of the week and it was the shortest too, so that wasn't bad either."
Kentucky: "Coach Cal is Coach Cal. He came in and he's one of the coolest coaches out there. He was just himself. He wants me to come in and be the top draft pick. He sees me as somebody to get it to on the break to use my speed and quickness. He sees a way to use my dribbling ability whether it be on the break or playing at the elbows."
North Carolina: "Everybody kind of heard about this one. Coach (Roy) Williams came and he brought all of his rings and kind of put on a little show for me. It was a lot different than the others, but also very informing. He really sold the culture of UNC basketball while he was here."
N.C. State: "They see me coming in there and filling the role of a guy like C.J. Leslie because they think he'll be gone for sure after this year. They see me as somebody who can play the four-spot in their offense. They are really confident that I could showcase my whole skillset in their offense. They also stressed how big basketball is at N.C. State and how they are trying to build and compete for a national title."
Randle also took some time to discuss his weekend trip to Lexington. It was his first trip and the Kentucky experience didn't disappoint.
"I kind of knew what I was going to get from the program and what they do," Randle said. "What I got out of the visit is that it is really just a family. They are going to push you hard to be the best you are going to be and you aren't going to like it sometimes. But at the end of the day you know they care about you. The coaches are good guys and care about you."
Current players also gave him an accurate picture of life as a UK basketball player.
"It's not really easy. It's going to be hard," said Randle, when asked what the Wildcat players told him about Kentucky. "But the reward is worth it in the end. Like last year they all sacrificed for each other and in the end they were all able to do what they wanted to do individually."
Randle also took notice of the local community's support for the hoops program.
"The fans are crazy," he said. "Everywhere you go the fans are saying 'Come here.' It's pretty crazy, but cool at the same time."
A plan had also been in place to visit Florida the first weekend of October for the LSU game but that has been postponed for now and likely will be rescheduled for sometime during the basketball season.
Randle will wait until spring to decide, and he's not feeling rushed to end the recruiting process.
"I'm not even sure what is next right now," Randle said. "Maybe after these in-homes I will cut it down to five or something like that. Or I might just take a quiet period away from it all. I need to focus on school and getting ready for the season. Since I'm not deciding until the spring some time away might not be a bad thing. We'll just see."
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