This week one of the nation's top recruits in Prestonwood Christian Academy's 6-9 PF Julius Randle has trimmed his list from 10 teams down to 6 that he is still considering. It just so happens that Oklahoma remained on that list while powerhouses like Duke and North Carolina were eliminated. That does have to speak volumes for Lon Kruger and what he is attempting to accomplish within the Oklahoma Basketball Program as Kruger was going up against legends in Coach K and Roy Williams.
Top recruits are nothing new for the Sooners as former Head Coach Jeff Capel consistently brought in a good crop of talent. With that talent came the attitude which eventually led to the downfall of a solid program. The difference with Julius Randle is that he has the potential, as a do it all type talent, to help bring home the coveted National Championship.
With the ultimate destination being the NBA, Kentucky must be a front-runner. John Calipari coached the under-18 team, a team that featured Randle allowing them to get to know each other as well as the style of play Calipari employs. This is a coach that has made a living off recruiting "one-and-dones" while winning championships in the process.
Just ahead of Kentucky, there is a good chance that NC State will surface as the #1 on the list of six. Randle has established a great relationship with current Wolfpack member, Rodney Purvis. The opportunity to play with someone you are already comfortable with increases not only the chances of on the court success but also the recruiting power of a school. Just ask players like Willie Warren what affect Blake Griffin had on him due to their familiarity with one another.
So where does that leave Oklahoma? Most likely on the outside looking in. Oklahoma is a mere 179.9 miles from Prestonwood making it the closest school to home. If and only if Randle is looking at location for the sake of his family being able to come and see him as a selling point will Oklahoma have the upper hand as they do not have the tournament history of some of the other programs. The Big XII is enticing as it is one of the better basketball conferences in the nation and provides the atmosphere that lends a location.
A short assessment of where Oklahoma stands with this kid can be summed up in the thought that it is a miracle the Sooners haven't been marked of the list at this point. This is a recruit who has every program in the nation nipping at his heels to get in the door on the recruitment process. If Randle wants to be the center piece of the rebuilding of a program, then Oklahoma is his school. UCLA, the richest basketball program in the land, managed to get a player who had this mindset in Shabazz Muhammad. Randle could be that catalyst for Oklahoma as recruits begin to pour in but for now, the Sooners are relegated to 3-star talent with a slim shot at this kid.
The other Big XII schools in on the mix are none other than Kansas as well as Texas.