Through a tweet released by his high school, Plano (Tex.) Prestonwood Christian, Julius Randle released a list of six finalists. The schools are the Kentucky Wildcats, N.C. State Wolfpack, Florida Gators, Texas Longhorns, Kansas Jayhawks, and Oklahoma Sooners.
Julius Randle narrows to 6: Kentucky, NC State, Florida, Texas, Kansas, OU.— PCAAthletics (@PCAAthletics) October 2, 2012
The most notable omissions are two blue blood schools, the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. Both Duke and UNC were considered favorites earlier in his recruitment. In an interesting turn of events, both schools are now out of the running. Duke, in particular, looked to be in a favorable position after landing a commitment from Randle's AAU teammate, Matt Jones from DeSoto (Tex.), last year. The Baylor Bears and Oklahoma St. Cowboys were the other two programs cut.
Randle has taken just one official visit to date, making the trip to Lexington for UK Alumni Weekend the weekend of September 14. Prior to trimming his list, Randle conducted in-home visits with the coaching staff from each of the ten schools.
He tentatively scheduled a visit to Florida this weekend, but that trip appears to have been delayed until basketball season. The Gators have come on strong since Randle spent the summer on the USA U-18 team, coached by Billy Donovan.
Though Kentucky and Florida are the prohibitive frontrunners, Texas is by no means a huge laggard in Randle's recruitment. Certainly, the below tweet by Evan Daniels of Scout.com is a good sign.
It will be overhyped that Duke & UNC aren't on Randle's list. They weren't considered favorites. My take ... UK, Florida & Texas are in hunt— Evan Daniels (@EvanDanielsFOX) October 2, 2012
It's likely that Randle will take his remaining official visits in-season before making a spring decision. The potential of taking unofficial visits to Texas or Oklahoma, both within driving distance, makes it possible that Randle will keep his list at six prior to releasing a decision.
As has been mentioned in recruiting updates, the Texas coaching staff does not mind the longer Randle delays his decision. The Longhorns would prefer to bring Randle in for a visit during the season, and the longer Randle's recruitment stretches out, the more time is available for the staff dedicate to Randle's recruitment. That said, having a strong season this year is absolutely imperative to the Longhorns' chances of landing Randle. If Texas continues to tread water, kiss Randle goodbye. No pressure, Myck Kabongo.