Julius Randle might play in the McDonalds All-American Game after all.
The UK recruit, who suffered a broken foot during the second game of the season and has been sidelined since, was surprisingly on the list of McDonalds nominees released Thursday.
In the past, the games organizers have had a stipulation that a player must play in 50 percent of his teams games to qualify for the McDonalds event. That language is no longer on the games website.
An email to the Herald-Leader on Thursday attributed to the McDonalds Selection Committee said a player could be named to the game even if he played in less than 50 percent of his teams games.
The percentage of games played is a guideline during the selection process, but not a rule, the email read. The most important aspect is that the player is playing during the selection process (i.e. not injured). And if they are injured, that they are scheduled to return to finish the season.
The Selection Committee and Chairman Morgan Wootten do evaluate each player and situation on an individual basis.
A McDonalds All-American Game spokesman later confirmed to the Herald-Leader that Randle will be considered if hes expected to be healthy by April 3, which is when the game will be played.
Carolyn Kyles, Randles mother, told the Herald-Leader on Thursday that Randles recovery is going better than expected. At the time of the injury, he was scheduled to return to the court sometime in later February or early March.
Kyles said she was thankful to the McDonalds All-American organization that Randle will still have a chance to play.
Its an honor for Julius to still be considered, she said. As of last week, Julius is out of the boot and will start rehab next week. His doctor said he looks great and ahead of schedule. Were taking it one day at a time.
Randle considered to be one of the two or three best players in the country has narrowed his list of schools to UK, Texas, Florida, Kansas, N.C. State and Oklahoma. He is not expected to make a decision until after the season.
Last month, Randle wrote in his USA Today diary about how much it would mean to play in the McDonalds Game.
One other thing that Ive really been thinking about is the McDonalds All-American game, Randle wrote. I know Ill be OK basketball-wise, but the one thing that this injury has done is get me worried about my chances to fulfill my dream of playing in this game.
Its been a lifelong dream of mine, and to think that something that was completely out of my control could stop me from playing really bothers me. Ill definitely be back to 100 percent well before the McDonalds game so Im hoping that Ill be able to play. I had heard that you have to play in a certain amount of games during the season to be eligible, and Im working hard to get back as soon as I possibly can.
Ill do whatever it takes to play in the game. I have heard that the rule was put in place for guys who move around to different schools, and thats not me. Im just hoping that the committee will be able to see what Ive done to this point and feel like its enough to get me in, especially since it was a freak accident that has me sidelined and Ill be back and ready way before the game.
The final rosters for the McDonalds Game will be announced Feb. 14.
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