It did not take the Big Blue Nation's collective spirit long to recover from a humbling NIT loss to Robert Morris and the end of a disappointing 2012-13 season.
Five-star Texas power forward Julius Randle announced on ESPNU today that he will join John Calipari's top-ranked recruiting class at Kentucky, giving the Wildcats the No. 1 player at four out of five positions in the Class of 2013.
Randle, a 6-foot-9 McDonald's All-American who led Prestonwood Christian Academy to a state championship as a senior, chose the Wildcats over Kansas, Florida and Texas.
"I loved all the schools and all the coaches, but the final straw for me was the system (at UK)," Randle said during the ESPNU broadcast of his announcement. "I felt like the system at Kentucky was a great system, and they have a lot of great players going in there, so you're going to have to battle.
"I play USA Basketball with a lot of great players, so I think I'll adjust well... To be able to battle with those guys every day in practice is only going to make me better and help me prepare for the next level. Playing with great players was a plus for me. It wasn't a negative at all."
Kentucky has already signed the nation's No. 1 point guard (Andrew Harrison), the No. 1 shooting guard (Aaron Harrison) and the No. 1 center (Dakari Johnson) as well as No. 2 center Marcus Lee, No. 3 small forward James Young and three-star Kentucky forward Derek Willis. The group is already being hailed as the greatest signing class in history.
The top small forward and No. 1 overall prospect, Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins, is still undecided and lists Kentucky among his top schools alongside Florida State, Kansas and North Carolina. Could the Cats go No. 1 at every position in the senior class?
"This class is simply ridiculous," said Scout national basketball analyst Brian Snow. "That is the only way to describe it. I wasn't around for the Fab Five (at Michigan). I think I was 7, so I can't compare them, but I know in my seven years in this industry no class has come close to this one.
"UK has landed elite kid after elite kid, and they all fit fairly well together. Look for this group to lead UK deep in March and be the talk of college basketball next season."
Randle missed most of his senior season with an ankle injury he suffered in late November, but came back to lead PCA on its state championship run. He averaged 28.5 points and 15 rebounds during his last five games as a prep star.
In April, he'll participate in the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago, the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn and the Nike Hoop Summit in Portand.
"Julius Randle is obviously a tremendous player," Snow said. "He is one of the best prospects in this class, and in most classes he would be No. 1 or, at worst, No. 2 in the country. Randle is a special talent and someone who should have an immediate impact on college basketball from day one. He has athleticism, size, strength, and surprising skill as well. There is just a lot to like about him both on and off the court."
Randle joins UK's No. 1 recruiting class
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