Randle's next stop at UK or Kansas, analysts say; power forward reveals pick Wednesday

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 19, 2013 

Officially, there are four finalists for the services of high school basketball star Julius Randle.

But most recruiting analysts have come to the conclusion that Randle will put on one of two hats when he announces his college decision Wednesday.

"I certainly think that Kentucky and Kansas are the two schools," Scout.com's Evan Daniels said Tuesday. "I would be stunned if he didn't go to one of those two schools."

UK and Kansas are on a final list with Texas and Florida.

Randle — ranked by Scout as the No. 5 overall prospect in the class of 2013 — will remove all doubt when he reveals his choice to his Plano, Texas, high school and an ESPNU audience Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Kentucky already has the No. 1-rated class for next season, and many who follow recruiting are trumpeting it as possibly the best class of all time.

The group is led by Aaron and Andrew Harrison, twin brothers from the Houston area who are regarded as the two best guards in the country and have been playing against Randle since the fifth grade.

The mere possibility of teaming Randle with the Harrisons has had UK fans salivating for months.

With good reason, says Daniels.

"I've already said that I think Kentucky will have the best backcourt in the country next year," he said. "If they were to get Julius Randle, they might have the best inside-outside presence as well. Julius Randle is that good. He's a guy that can come in to a college program and really make a major difference."

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound power forward seems perfectly built for John Calipari's offensive system.

He's proven himself as a player who can create scoring opportunities on the perimeter, and he's also dominant when using his body to post up opponents inside.

Randle is an accomplished passer for a player of his size, and he was the leading rebounder in last year's Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, the top summer circuit in the country.

He's also known for his toughness, which has been on full display in recent weeks.

Randle suffered what was thought to be a season-ending foot injury just two games into his senior season.

Instead, he returned to the court ahead of schedule and led his team to a second consecutive state title.

His goal next year will be to win another championship in what will almost certainly be his only season of college.

His best chance of that might be to spend that season in Lexington.

"If Kentucky gets Julius Randle, I think you have to consider them the favorite to win the national title," Daniels said.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216Twitter: @NextCatsBlog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com

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