September 11, 2012

Randle understands that Kentucky isn't for everyone

Kentucky head coach John Calipari wasted no time on the first day of the fall open recruiting period, in which college coaches can go visit prospects at their schools (and seniors at their homes).

Calipari headed straight down to the Dallas, Texas area to have an in-home visit with the nation's number one player in the class of 2013, five-star power forward Julius Randle.

The visit was held at the Randle family's home and included Julius, his mother, Julius' high school coach Chris Mayberry and of course, Calipari.

"The visit was special," said Mayberry, "One thing that stood out to me is how passionate Cal is about the University of Kentucky. You can tell by both the way he talks and the ways he's brought them to national prominence that he is fully dedicated to UK for the long haul."

Arriving at the Randle home just hours after North Carolina State made their pitch, and the day before North Carolina and Duke had their chance, you would think that the Calipari would try and put the pressure on the Randle's to solidify Kentucky as the school to beat.

The result was quite the opposite actually, as Calipari took an altogether different approach with his message.

"The main point that coach hammered in was that Kentucky is a special place that is not for just anyone. Some people can't handle the spotlight like that, but if you can, then special things will happen," said Mayberry, "We all understand that if Julius were to go to UK he would have to become comfortable with being a rock-star on campus, we know that the fan base in that state has unmatched passion."

Mayberry went on to say that the pressure of the bright lights of Rupp doesn't bother Julius, and in fact probably draws him closer to being a part of the Big Blue Nation.

On Sept. 15, the same day as the inaugural UK basketball alumni game, Randle will take his official visit to Lexington; something that Mayberry said he is extremely excited about. While Randle will not make his final decision until the spring most likely, this could be the last time pre-decision that he sees the Kentucky campus.

Regardless of Randle's final impression of the campus, his relationship with Calipari should only get stronger between now and his decision date. Mayberry confirmed the often reported fact that Randle and Calipari have frequent conversations about how Julius can improve, and how to handle the hype that goes with being the no. 1 player in the 2013 Rivals150.

"There are a few coaches that Julius is willing to confide in, and that he reaches out to with questions," Mayberry said, "But, I think that Calipari is by far the one that Julius is most comfortable with. Comfort in his recruitment is going to be huge, so I think that's great that Julius and John (Calipari) have that type of early relationship."

The final point that Calipari left the Randle family, and coach Mayberry, with is that even though Kentucky is one of the schools that has contact Julius the most, that contact doesn't mean much of anything.

"Cal told us that it doesn't matter who calls, texts or shows the most attention to us," Mayberry said, "What matters is feeling the most comfortable with a program. Julius has his head on straight and understands that, comfort will probably ultimately determine Julius' college decision."

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