Yeah, I said it.
As shocking and appalling as the headline may be to some, to others it may not be such a stretch. No matter how one feels of Jabari Parker's position as the nation's No. 1 recruit for 2013 (ESPN 100, Scout.com, Rivals.com), there isn't much talent that separates him from Julius Randle—if any.
It's almost a matter of taste. Both of these fine young athletes are ranked at the top of their positions, as they should be. But what makes Julius Randle better than Parker?
Forget President Obama. Someone needs to check Julius Randle's birth certificate. The man-child looks—and plays—even bigger than his reported 6'9” and 225-pound frame.
Randle slashes into the paint from any area of the floor, taking out opponents like bowling pins on his way to the bucket. There just isn't anyone that can stop this freight train, other than himself.
Occasionally he is too determined to take it to the hole and ends up getting slapped with a charge. That was a big part of him fouling out of his AAU game on Thursday night.
He did get his time on the line, though. Randle actually led the Nike EYBL with nine free-throw attempts per game, making about seven of those. That's pretty important when most big games are won on the charity stripe.
His “I will dominate you” mentality resonates on the court and that's something I can get down with. Randle simply needs to learn how to gear down every once in a while, so his team doesn't end up in the penalty while he's on the pine.
Julius Randle's recklessness can be adjusted, but his frame cannot be replaced.
Jabari Parker has a great Kobe-like finesse game and doesn't mind getting physical either. But his physicality just isn't on the level of Randle. Parker will dunk on opponents, but he doesn't just run right through them.
And nobody finishes through contact better than Randle.
Parker also doesn't have the moves of Julius Randle. There are very few basketball players you will ever see have as many moves before they even hit the college hardwood—especially in the post. He has counter moves, spin moves, crossovers and turn-around fades, to name a few.
His footwork is seriously advanced. And for a big man, so are his handles.
This makes him more versatile than your average high school power forward. While Jabari Parker easily has the better stroke, Randle still sports very good range from 15 feet and beyond. Between his dribbles and range, Julius Randle could very easily adjust to the 3.
The ability to play different positions on the floor cannot be overlooked. If a team already has a couple solid bigs, they can throw Randle in at small forward to gain an even bigger size advantage.
Both players have their defensive issues, but Randle owns the paint. He has the size to bump bodies in the post and the legs to jump multiple times for a block. He will also add some serious rebounding to any squad with his superior motor.
Randle snagged 13 rebounds in what most would consider an overall “off” game for him on Thursday night. He averaged 9.8 rebounds per game during his junior season at Prestonwood Christian Academy. He also led the Nike EYBL with 10 rebounds per game—8.7 on defense.
On top of all that, Randle is also a very good passer from his position—another quality shared with the nation's top recruit. Both have great vision and can lay down some sweet trick passes. It always seems more impressive coming from the 4, though.
Simply put, Julius Randle affects his team on more levels than Jabari Parker. While Parker will own the perimeter and get his share of dunks, he won't own the paint and certainly not the block.
When one man can dominate the inside and still force opponents to defend him on the wing, that is something special.
What does it take to win in college basketball? Own the paint, knock down some perimeter shots and get on the line. When one of five players can do all of that himself, I'd call that a serious advantage.
And enough of one to put Julius Randle on top.
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