Chasson Randle has been a marked man for some time now. A well-known commodity early in his career at Rock Island, the guard exploded on the scene when he made the 19-Under USA basketball team last summer. According to his high school coach Thom Sigel, Randle's confidence improved with that success.
"Yeah, it did. Just from the practices if nothing else, playing with that level of competition."
As one's confidence improves, the more relaxed he becomes and the more he recognizes opportunities on the court. And the more he takes advantage of those situations, the more his confidence level expands. Such a process is exciting for coach and player alike.
"He continues to improve," Sigel brags. "He is seeing more things. And he is doing some things for us with rebounding and defense too."
Randle played with more focus and maturity immediately following his USA experience. His game jumped to a brand new level with the Illinois Wolves AAU team, and that has continued into the high school season. He agrees his improved confidence has helped his game.
"Yeah, and it still is. Every time I step on the court, I feel I'm a good player."
He's definitely a good player. He is fundamentally sound, extremely intelligent and makes few mistakes. He has good form on his shot and good handles. He is not a tremendous athlete, but he is the type of player who can provide important minutes throughout four years of college ball.
He is not invincible, but no one is. His team has height on the bench, but the regulars are not as tall. Randle often plays out of position as teammate Royce Muskeyvalley handles the point guard spot and a couple other guards play frequently. But whatever position he plays, Randle contributes.
Rock Island lost a semi-final game to Grayslake Central 46-41 in the State Farm Holiday Tournament held in Normal, Illinois after Christmas. Neither his coach nor he were in talkative moods as both are competitors and took the loss hard.
"He doesn't like to lose, so he's real frustrated with this too. He'll keep working, as will we."
"Yeah, it's pretty tough. I think we did the best we could. Some things didn't go our way. (The season is) going all right so far. We could always do better, but so far so good."
The question of his college decision-making process was inevitable. He has had a group of favorites for a long time now, but some additional big-time schools are entering the mix.
"I'm just trying to see as many schools as I can and take it from there. Yeah, I'm adding some schools. I have in my mind a handful of schools, although I'm open to schools with a high tradition of winning. That's the only type of team that might be coming in. But other than that, those are the schools I'm trying to focus on."
He wants to reduce his list to a more manageable number, hopefully in the near future. But his final commitment decision may not happen until just prior to his senior season.
"I'm looking to make a decision somewhere this next fall."
Randle's favorable comments about Illinois at the Shootout At The Hall at the Assembly Hall December 12 led some to believe he was ready to commit to the IIlini. He was asked if the media misinterpreted his remarks.
"The interest has always been there. They might be looking too much into it, but I do have a strong feeling for them."