It feels like we haven’t had one of these in a while. No, not a humiliating NIT loss, although it’s been a few years since we’ve had one of those, too. It’s hard to imagine anything being good about today, but we have to remember that this is officially the start of the 2013-14 basketball season for Kentucky. And it starts with recruiting. But since Dakari Johnson committed to the Cats in early January, the recruiting front, for as active as the coaches have been, has been relatively stagnant. Which is fine.
But today, that all changes. Julius Randle, ranked 3rd overall (#1 PF) by ESPN, announces where he’ll go to school next year, today. Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) came on KSR Radio and said that he believes that the newly-minted All-American will pick Kentucky. Eric Prisbell (@EricPrisbell), also of USA Today, got his subtweet on yesterday with a cryptic message regarding where he suspects Randle could end up:
The way I frame Randle’s decision: In 20 days, the 2013 national title will be decided. In 1 day, the 2014 national title could be decided.
– Eric Prisbell (@EricPrisbell) March 19, 2013
Heck, even Randle’s barber thinks the Wildcats are in good shape:
Julius Randle’s barber of 10 years, Travis, is predicting Kentucky. Had OU but just learned that they’d been cut. twitter.com/JayJayUSATODAY…
– Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) March 20, 2013
It feels like the Randle recruitment has gone on forever, if only because he’s not been a “surprise” player; his performances have been stellar for a long time. And with his talent, he knew that he could take his time to commit. There would be room on any team for someone like him. And at 1 p.m. today, we’ll know which team that will be. For those who, for whatever reason, haven’t seen Randle play, take a look below:
The first thing you’ll notice is his size. At 6’9″, 225, Randle is definitely a beast. The second thing you’ll notice, and then be amazed by, is his speed and quickness. Watch the video, and pay attention to his ball-handling and driving skills. If you want a power forward that’s perfect for Cal’s modified “Dribble Drive” system, it’s Julius Randle to a tee. He can create his own shot, pass out of a double-team, and overpower smaller defenders inside. He really does have everything that position needs to excel at Kentucky (or anywhere, really).
Again, it’s hard to imagine being happy after last night. The loss doesn’t sting as much as John Wall’s defeat in the Elite 8, mostly because there was almost nothing on the line, but it was a disappointing end to a dismal season. But that season’s over, and what better way to start the next one than with a Julius Randle commit? Let’s hope he gives us a reason to be happy. I won’t say that next year’s team needs him in order to be successful, but how could he not help?
In spite of the NIT loss, you could make this a very good day for BBN, Julius. We’ll be talking about it all day, so stick around. Go Cats.
Also, Happy Birthday to my own little broseph, Matt Freire. He and Nerlens are both going through ACL surgery rehab, so wish them both well.