Q&A with Julius Randle

HAMPTON, Va. --- Julius Randle entered this weekend's EYBL event as the nation's No. 1 sophomore. In his first games at the 17-and-under level, he's further cemented that ranking. Randle talked to Inside Carolina about his game and his recruitment ...

How do you think you rank among the top players in your class?

"There are a lot of tough players in high school basketball but I try to work the hardest because I want to be the best. So if I see another top player on the court, obviously I'm going to go at them. But to compare, we're all up there but I think I rate up there, too."

There is a lot of talent here, are you looking forward to matching up with the top players in your class?

"Yeah, every player on the court is taller, bigger, faster, stronger, it lets you compare to see what your skill set is like and what you need to work on. That's always a good thing."

What are you working on right now?

"Just everything all around. Talking to coaches, I want to let everyone on the court know I'm the best player on the court and dominate everything. Just play hard all the time and never take a possession off."

You attack the basket hard and move a lot offensively, is that part of what you're talking about?

"When you're on the court you have to have a lot of energy in order to attack the basket and play hard all the time. Mostly it's just a mental thing, having a lot of energy and playing hard all the time and being a leader for the team."

Do you think playing at such a high intensity level can wear you out?

"My coach played at Oklahoma, he works me hard during the week. The stuff we do is crazy. There's a lot of conditioning stuff every single day in the mornings and afternoons. So conditioning wise, it doesn't matter."

You talk about being a dominant player but you also defer a lot, is being a good teammate important to you?

"In order for me to dominate, I have to get my teammates going, too. I have to share the ball. I have a lot of top players on my team. Matthew Jones is a beast. There are a lot of good players on my team so I don't have to be a one man show or anything like that. Most of the time, great players take over when you need it. So you don't have to dominate the ball all the time. You have to let your teammates get in the game, too."

One of the most noticeable things about your skill level is obviously your feet. Your move your feet really clean. They move quick. You're able to go by people without much trouble. What kind of stuff do you attribute that to?

"I credit it to my coach, Jeff Webster. The whole week he works us out hard; he works out everything from conditioning, footwork, ball-handling - it's just constant reps of doing stuff like that. Getting your footwork right and clean and stuff like that and it just works out in the game."

Despite being only a sophomore, you show a lot of maturity out there, as a leader on this team. Can you speak to that?

"My first game I didn't play well - I wasn't being a good leader. My coach and I talked and he said I had to be a leader, I had to step up and be a leader for my team. So I just have to be vocal and bring a lot of energy to my team and do whatever my team needs me to do."

Who is involved in recruiting you?

"Every school in the country. I might leave some out but Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville -- a lot of schools. I'm probably missing a lot."

Do you have any visits planned?

"Not right now. Just working skills academy and stuff like that -- getting better. I'm not in a rush to visit any schools right now."

Who is recruiting you the hardest?

"Maybe North Carolina. Coach Williams just offered me and they don't usually do that for sophomores. That shows me how much interest he has in me."

Was your scholarship offer from UNC the last time you had contact with the staff?

"That was the last time I talked to him. Then I talked to coach Robinson on the phone probably a month ago also."

What do you like about UNC?

"Great school, great tradition, great players. Coach Williams and his entire coaching staff is proven so to be offered like a great school like that and know that they want you to play with them is a great honor."

Is distance from home a factor?

"No, I've talked to my family about it and they just want what's best for me."

What are you looking for in a school?

"If basketball doesn't work out, I want academics. I want a coach I can trust and is always going to be there. A coach that is going to push me to be the best player I can be."

You mentioned Kentucky, what do you think of Coach John Calipari at Kentucky?

"Coach Cal is an amazing coach. He pushes you and always tries to make you the best player you can be. A lot of times you may not like him or coaches you play for but he's always going to push you and he's always going to look out for you."

Do you see yourself taking a long time to make a decision?

"Yeah, I plan on making a decision my senior year."

Is style of play a factor?

"No not really. Like I was saying yesterday, when you look at a school, you try to maybe compare yourself to a player they have there. Like if I was looking at Kentucky, maybe Terrance Jones or something like that. How they play him. They play him amazing and they get the best out of him. So you just look how they play a player there and if it fits you best then you go."

How about some players at some of the other schools you mentioned? Who do you compare yourself to?

"Harrison Barnes at North Carolina. Duke, maybe Kyle Singler or something like that. Just most of the schools I'm looking at, they're looking at playing me as a combo four, inside/out. The three or four position. A lot of coaches see me playing the three later in my career so just developing that area of my game."

A lot of forwards like to say they play on the perimeter but you actually bring the ball up the floor and initiate fast breaks. Is that something you've always done?

"I've been able to do that since I was young. I always told my mom that I never wanted to always just play in the post. I wanted to be able to handle the ball too. There aren't a lot of big men who can take the ball off the backboard and bring it up the court, run an offense or something like that. So just having a lot of versatility in my game where you're playing a bigger player you take him outside, smaller player you take them inside."

How is your perimeter shot coming along?

"It's something I work on every day. You have to have a lot of versatility. I want to have every facet of my game down pat so there's no way I can stop everything I'm doing."

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