Julius Randle is one of the best high school prospects in the country and the highest rated power forward in his class. Any program that lands him will have a piece that they can build a team around to make a run to a national championship. He’s a can’t miss player that has everyone drooling, but unfortunately, the Tar Heels won’t get to reap the benefits. Earlier this afternoon, Randle trimmed his list down to six universities catching the country by surprise. The news was first sighted by his high school’s (Prestonwood Christian Academy) twitter account and later confirmed by his mother (see below).
Among the schools left off the list, none are more shocking than UNC and Duke especially since Randle had spoken so highly of both programs in recent interviews. Big 12 schools Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas made the cut along with Florida, NC State, and of course, Kentucky. Once again Coach Calipari remains a huge contender for a top prospect. Even though he’s yet to commit anyone in the Top 100 for the 2013-2014 season, we all know that will change before it’s all set in stone.
But what does this mean for the Tar Heels?
It’s hard to say what really and truly influences a young player’s recruiting decision without a formal statement. However, I don’t think the choice had anything to do with Roy William’s effort or that every other suitor took a better approach than him. Perhaps Julius wanted things that are out of Roy’s control. Perhaps Julius wanted to go to a program where he would be the only big man. The Tar Heels have fellow prospect Isaiah Hicks coming in next season as one of the best big men in the country, Joel James and Brice Johnson will have had a season under their belts and then there is James McAdoo, a player that no one has considered will actually stay into his junior season. What if he did? All of a sudden the low block is getting crowded. Obviously Randle is better than most of the names mentioned with the possible exception of Mac, but maybe he wants to play for a program where having to work for a starting spot requires less effort. We all know based on history that Roy will start who he felt has earned it and not based on incoming hype (Marvin Williams, Ed Davis, John Henson).
Until Randle expresses his reasoning, we won’t know why he cut Carolina so early, but Roy and his staff won’t mourn over it forever. There are still other big men out there that Carolina has offered including another top prospect in Noah Vonleh. Vonleh reclassified into the 2013 group a little over a week ago and has set the recruiting world in a frenzy. Everyone knew he was a big prospect, but coaches definitely weren’t planning on having to make a big push for him this early. With Randle out of the picture, Vonleh has to be priority number one for Carolina. I said in my post last week, I think Vonleh is the better signee of the two. He plays both inside and outside where as Randle is a pure big man. In my personal opinion, that add enough value that if the Tar Heels land Vonleh, they don’t lose much ground from not getting Randle, but of course, nothing is a given.
Losing Randle hurts and it hurts badly, but let’s not lose faith in Roy and his staff just yet. This guy is only two years removed from landing the number one class in the nation which means he knows exactly what he’s doing. Chapel Hill and Tar Heel nation will get to rejoice at least one more signing before the 2013 season. Count on it.