Julius Randle proving his value as top notch talent regardless of class

22 Jul

By Bobby Bancroft
National Hoops Report

With only one rising senior on their roster, it would have been easy for Team Texas Titans to pack up after losing their first two pool play games at the 2011 EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam last week.

Team Texas Titans would prove that no matter how young your roster is, if it includes Julius Randle, you can compete with anybody.

The 6-foot-8, 245-pound five-star big man from McKinney, Texas used the Nike Peach Jam tournament to send a message out to everybody that he is one of the nation’s most dominant players, regardless of class.

Randle, one of the top players from the Class of 2013, finished the tournament by averaging 19.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

After losing their first two games, Team Texas Titans put themselves in a position where they had to win out in order to have a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.  That’s exactly what they did.

“We lost our first two games so it feels really good,” Randle said after qualifying for the quarterfinals.

“We are the youngest team and we are out of here winning.  We won three games in a row and it really gives us momentum.”

Randle and the Titans would eventually fall in the quarterfinals but not without giving up a fight as they gave eventual runner up Memphis YOMCA all they could handle in a 69-68 overtime loss.

It’s often said that big man are at a disadvantage during AAU competitions because they tend to be more guard oriented.  Even though Randle was often left with smaller, quicker defenders guarding him in the low post, he doesn’t find his big stature a disadvantage at all.

“It’s not a disadvantage at all,” Randle said.

“I just have to work within the team.  Sometimes they triple team me with a guy guarding me trying to front me, a guy behind me and somebody to the side.  It’s just up to my teammates to make a play.  I gotta trust them to make a play.”

One of the biggest beneficiaries from Randle’s play was 6’4 shooting guard Matt Jones.  Jones, another Class of 2013 standout, finished the tournament scoring 18 points per game thanks in large part to his outside shooting touch.  The rising junior from DeSoto, Texas connected on 18 three-pointers in his six games.

If anybody had any doubts about Randle’s place in the Class of 2013’s top-5 before the Peach Jam, those doubts have now been completely erased.  As a result he will undoubtedly have his pick of college destinations but for now he remains wide open.

“Pretty much anybody that wants to recruit me, I have an interest in them,” Randle diplomatically said.

“I’m not going to say no to a place before I have the chance to take the time to see what they have to offer me.”

When asked to come up with a list of schools that were recruiting him the hardest, Randle rattled off a slew of historical power houses.

“Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Florida, and Memphis are one me the hardest right now,” Randle said.

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