Five-star recruit Julius Randle to reveal college decision Wednesday

By Tom Hurley | @TomHurleyKernel

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The bad news bears have plagued UK basketball in recent days. First came the Cats’ failure to win an NCAA Tournament bid, then came Tuesday’s loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.

But good news could come to boost the mood of UK fans Wednesday when five-star recruit Julius Randle announces his college commitment.

Randle, ranked No. 2 by Rivals in the Class of 2013, will reveal his decision on ESPNU shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

UK is among the last four schools in the running to land the 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward.

Florida, Kansas and Texas are the other schools in contention for Randle’s commitment, although it is widely believed the Cats and Jayhawks are favorites.

Randle may be the strongest player available in the class of 2013. He has the ability to attack the rim with ease against his smaller-framed opponents at the high school level.

His rebounding, work rate and basketball IQ are among the traits that have lifted Randle above all but 6-foot-7 forward Andrew Wiggins in Rivals’ rankings.

This ranking comes despite the fact Randle missed three months of his high school season with a fracture in his right foot.

The Plano, Texas, native visited Lexington in September on an official visit, posting a photo on Twitter of himself in a UK sweater posing with celebrity Cats fan Drake while at the UK basketball alumni game.

The photo fueled speculation that Randle had already made his decision and it would be a formalilty that he would accept UK head coach John Calipari’s scholarship offer.

No commitment was made, however, and the Prestonwood Christian Academy senior proceeded with official visits to other schools.

Kansas is believed to have made a strong impression on Randle when the recruit visited the Jayhawks’ campus in February.

In a December interview with Dave Telep of ESPN, Randle was asked which high school player he would choose to take to college with him.

“I guess … you know a point guard is pretty important, so I like Andrew, Andrew Harrison,” Randle said.

If the forward announces Wednesday that he will be joining Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis on UK’s 2013-14 roster, it will give Cats fans the chance to quickly make the disappointment of Selection Sunday and the Robert Morris defeat a distant memory.