Julius Randle: Ranking Every Suitor's Chance to Land Top Basketball Recruit
Judging by recent remarks he made to ESPN's Dave Telep (subscription required), Dallas native Julius Randle (No. 3, ESPN 100) has whittled his list of prospective schools down to three.
Problems is, there are six programs left on the power forward's official list, and it's still unclear which three from that sextet have risen to the top.
Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina State, Kansas, Florida and Kentucky are all still officially in the running for Randle's signature, and in the slides ahead we'll sort through the relative merits of each.
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— Norman is only about three hours away from Dallas, Randle's hometown.
— Coach Lon Kruger is an experienced and well-respected head man who appears to have the Sooners (19-9, 10-6) headed in the right direction.
— Randle would likely be the focal point of Oklahoma's offense, meaning he'd be in position to post big numbers.
— Oklahoma's basketball pedigree is modest relative to the other five schools on this list.
— Randle's supporting cast in Norman would be comparatively weak, and his chances of contending for a national title at Oklahoma would be slim.
— Tiny Gallon (pictured above) is the only Oklahoma player to enter the NBA draft after his freshman year during the one-and-done era. Gallon has yet to play an NBA game.
The X-Factor: Randle did not take an official visit to Oklahoma.
Chances He Goes to Oklahoma: One percent
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— Florida is one of the nation's best teams this season, and coach Billy Donovan has turned the Gators into one of America's winningest programs during his 17 years in Gainesville.
— Donovan developed former one-and-done recruit Bradley Beal into the third overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft.
— For all its recent hardwood success, Florida remains a football-first school.
— If Patric Young exercises his final year of eligibility, the Gators could return up to three frontcourt players.
The X-Factor: Scouts say Randle needs to improve perimeter jump-shooting, and there's some circumstantial evidence to suggest that Billy Donovan doesn't like his young bigs shooting a ton of jumpers.
Chance He Goes to Florida: Four percent
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— Under Rick Barnes, Texas has produced a ton of one-and-done talent, including names like Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley.
— There's already a good deal of talent in Austin, and Randle could step in immediately alongside Myck Kabongo and Cameron Ridley to help spur a quick turnaround.
— Randle would be only three hours from Dallas, with a chance to star in his home state.
— Randle has expressed a desire to win early in his college career, and Texas, one of the Big 12's worst teams this year, looks more like a work in progress.
— The Longhorns haven't been past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament since 2008.
The X-Factor: Randle watched Kansas throttle Texas 73-47 during his official visit to Lawrence.
Chances He Goes to Texas: 15 percent
3. North Carolina State
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— North Carolina State has recruited well over the last two years, marking it as a program on the rise.
— Randle's skill set fits NC State's offense well, and it's easy to imagine the athletic forward sliding into C.J. Leslie's role should the current junior declare for the NBA draft.
— NC State hasn't seriously contended for a national championship since the mid-1980s.
— Ranked sixth in the preseason AP poll, the Wolfpack have underachieved this year, leading some to question how coach Mark Gottfried makes use of his talent.
— NC State's road to the tournament will only get harder in the coming years as Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the ACC.
The X-Factor: Randle is good friends with NC State guard Rodney Purvis.
Chances He Goes to NC State: 20 percent
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— Kentucky is the one-and-done destination. No school produces more lottery-bound freshmen and no school has been as successful at molding those freshmen into championship-caliber college players.
— The atmosphere in Lexington is fantastic. No major city takes its college hoops more seriously, and Randle could be a star for the Wildcats.
— Kentucky is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament this year, poking some holes in the theory that Big Blue can compete for a championship every season by simply replacing draft picks with blue-chip prospects.
— The Wildcats could have a logjam in the frontcourt with current sophomore Kyle Wiltjer, incoming small forward James Young and incoming power forward Marcus Lee.
The X-Factor: Randle likes the idea of playing alongside talented players, and Kentucky should be loaded next season with the addition of twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison.
Chances He Goes to Kentucky: 29 percent
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— Kansas, one of the country's most stable programs, has been to the second weekend of the tournament in five of the past six seasons.
— Lawrence is one of the best basketball towns in America, and Allen Fieldhouse might well be the nation's single best venue.
— Kansas is a bit closer to Dallas, and Randle grew up in Big 12 country.
— Kansas hasn't had the same success with one-and-done talent as Kentucky and Texas.
— With all five members of the Jayhawks' starting lineup projected to either graduate or enter the 2013 NBA draft, Randle might find his supporting cast a bit lacking.
Chances He Goes to Kansas: 31 percent