Julius Randle says there’s no pressure on him playing in this weekend’s Under Armor Elite 24 game in Venice Beach, Calif., that will be shown on ESPNU¿Saturday night.
“It means a lot. It’s just a great honor. A lot of great players have come through here, so to be able to do this again is really fun. I really like to come here,” said the 6-9, 240-pound Randle, one of the top players in the 2013 recruiting class. “But there is no pressure. Everybody is enjoying themselves, enjoying the weather. It’s just all good.”
“Recruiting has been good. But it is nice to be out here where I¿can hang out with friends. I just like to work on getting better, but recruiting always works out good for me,” he said.
He said he’s not sure where reports surfaced that he would not want to come to Kentucky and play with twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, who are also from Texas, or star Andrew Wiggins if he reclassifies from the 2014 recruiting class to the 2013 class.
“We could have the best class they’ve had (at Kentucky),” Randle said. “I like Andrew (Wiggins) and his game. Playing with great players like him just makes the game easier.”
It’s the same with the Harrisons, two of the nation’s top-ranked guards.
“People are always trying to sart rumors, but would have no problem playing with them,” Randle said. “Again, I would consider playing with them for sure because playing with great players makes it a lot easier.”
Of course, those players might say the same thing about Randle. ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi calls him the most “physically imposing” player in the 2013 recruiting class because of his combination of physical play and strength, but he also handles the ball well in the open court. Biancardi says he can be “unstoppable” inside at times.
“I am pretty physical,” Randle said during the phone interview from California. “My game is based on physicality. It’s a great honor to have Mr. Biancardi say that about me. I work on a lot of things, but some things just come natural to me. They are just things I have been doing my whole life. I¿think I¿have a lot to my game. I have a good combination of skills and power I think.”
Randle has not set any official visits, but a childhood friend, Matt Jones, is a Duke commit. He says he’ll likely schedule his visits after the Elite 24 is done. However, his plan remains to make his decision in the spring, not during the early signing period in November. However, he had no trouble explaining why Kentucky is high on his list.
“Coach (John) Calipari is just a great coach,” Randle said. “Whatever he has done, you don’t even have to say it. He got the program turned around very quick. He’s done a great job. He is a player’s coach and players relate so well to him.
“His system for sure would be good for me. He lets players be themselves. I know that about him. If I go there, he would let me be myself and develop my games in area that need improvement.”
Randle says he wants to “study systems” of the schools he is considering in the months ahead.
“I want to see what systems I like and see if I can relate to the coaches,” Randle said. “Then I will get all my family together and talk to them and it will be a joint decision then.”