Any elite basketball player’s recruitment is ridiculous these days, but Julius Randle’s has been particularly crazy. Randle first popped up on our radars back in February 2010, when he was still a 2012 recruit taking an unofficial visit to Kansas. Since then, he’s been mentioned in 304 KSR posts. Here are the top ten craziest moments from his recruitment:
1. The Swag Wars
In September 2012, Cal arrived to an in-home visit in a chauffeured car. Driver = Swag. “Cal is just, well, Cal,” said Julius’ mother, “He’s just got swag. I mean he had a driver. There wasn’t any presentation – it was just Cal talking off the cuff and chilling out with us.”
Also, town car > limo. Coach K showed up to Randle’s house in a white stretch limo, but the smell of desperation was too strong. Randle cut Duke from his list in October 2012.
2. The Bling Wars
Cal’s driver wasn’t the only impressive thing on that visit; he brought his Championship ring along with him. Randle and his mom were impressed, with his mother marveling how “nice and shiny” it was: “You couldn’t help but notice all those diamonds.”
Never one to be one-upped, Roy Williams followed up by bringing a box of 31 Championship rings on his visit, including Michael Jordan’s 1992 NBA championship ring. While Randle’s mother ooh’d and ahh’d over the bling box, it wasn’t enough. Julius cut UNC from his list in October 2012.
3. The Cake Wars
Randle’s mama loves cake. Red velvet cake to be specific. Coaches paid attention to this detail, and presented red velvet cakes on each of Randle’s visits. Kentucky’s version was Randle’s mother’s favorite, despite other schools like NC State preparing a new one for each day she visited.
4. The Fan Wars
NC State’s desperation didn’t stop there. Fans painted a mural of Randle for his visit, and went all out with signs and chants throughout the game he attended. It wasn’t enough–Randle cut NC State from his list on March 6th.
5. The “War” between the Harrison Twins and Julius Randle
Early on in Julius and the Harrison Twins’ recruitment, there were rumblings that the three refused to play with one another. That rumor morphed into an animal of its own before eventually being shot down by none other than Randle and his mother, who told Jason Jordan that they are “laughably untrue.” “How untrue are they?” Randle has said that if he joined the Harrison Twins at Kentucky, “We would have a legit shot to win a national championship in our first year.” Yes you would.
6. Julius Randle meets Drake
Randle visited for the UK Alumni game in September and snapped this pic with honorary coach and UK fan Drake.
7. Julius Randle meets Jay-Z & Beyonce
Randle and teammate Mickey Mitchell meet Jay-Z and Beyonce at a Dallas Mavericks game in 2011. And yes, he geeked: “I’m 15 years old, and I’m about to sit next to Jay-Z and Beyoncé. How am I not supposed to be going crazy?”
8. Desperation is a bad thing
NC State fans painted a mural and baked cakes, Roy Williams tried to blind his mom with bling, and Scott Drew, the Baylor head coach, threw flyers all over Randle’s porch, which his mother found the next morning and had to pick up. If that weren’t juvenile enough, Drew also sent Randle’s mother a text message that just repeated the word “Baylor” over and over again.
9. Coach Cal offers Julius an assistant job during his injury
Randle went down with a foot fracture over Thanksgiving break, and Cal didn’t only keep in touch, he offered Randle a scholarship and an assistant job even if he wasn’t able to play again.
“I had a really good talk with Coach (John) Calipari since my injury too. He’s funny. He told me that worst-case scenario, if I never play again, I could still come to Kentucky on scholarship and after I graduate I’d be his assistant. The crazy thing is that I know he’s serious about that. It just showed me how much he really cared about me and my future. That meant a lot to me.”
But Cal doesn’t care about these kids, right?
10. The Case of the Mysterious Wildcats Shirt
A few weeks ago, a picture popped up of Randle wearing a Nike “Wildcats” shirt. The lighting in the photo made some question whether it was a Kentucky or a Kansas State shirt, but come on…it’s UK.
…and one to grow on?
11. Julius is a Cat
I can’t think of a better way to end this list than Julius announcing his decision to attend the University of Kentucky on a nationally televised press conference on ESPNU.
Come on down.