John Calipari strikes again. Julius Randle, a five-star power forward from Plano (Tex.) Prestonwood Christian Academy, committed to the Kentucky Wildcats today. He announced his decision live on ESPNU and picked Kentucky over the Kansas Jayhawks, Texas Longhorns, and Florida Gators.
Randle sat out most of his senior season with a broken foot. However, he returned in time to lead his high school, Plano PCA, to a second consecutive Texas TAPPS State Championship. That return convinced the McDonald's All-American committee to grant him a waiver exception to play in the game, a notable achievement. A five-star prospect in the 2013 class, Randle is one of the most gifted forwards in recent history. He is almost certainly a "one-and-done" prospect that will be picked in the high lottery in the 2014 NBA Draft.
He has drawn comparisons to versatile 4's like Jamal Mashburn and Chris Webber. Per the 247 Composite Rankings, Randle is ranked 2nd nationally, trailing only Huntington (W. Va.) Prep's Andrew Wiggins. Burnt Orange Nation's Peter Bean has a great scouting report on Randle, emphasized by this money quote: "Ridiculous. On every level: ridiculous."
For Kentucky, Randle is the latest commitment in a recruiting class for the ages. The Wildcats already have signatures from fellow All-American Texans Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, as well as five-star players James Young and Marcus Lee. Another five-star prospect, Dakari Johnson, has committed and will sign his Letter of Intent in April. The class is rounded out by local star Derek Willis, a top 150 player nationally.
If Randle does go to UK, Kentucky will have the #1 PG, SG, PF, and C. Along with the #2 SF. Wow.— Kentucky Recruiting(@RecruitKentucky) March 20, 2013
Even crazier, Kentucky may not be done. The Wildcats are still recruiting Wiggins as well as combo forward Aaron Gordon. Both players are Top 10 prospects nationally. With Randle on board, Gordon is an extreme long shot and will likely stay on the West Coast. Kentucky is considered a co-favorite with Wiggins, but he has kept his recruitment under wraps since finishing his official visits. The Wildcats may also recruit another guard for depth, with Richmond (Ken.) Madison Central's Dominique Hawkins getting a long look.
But today, the story is all about Julius Randle. Welcome to Kentucky, sir.