A leader has finally emerged in the Shavlik Randolph sweepstakes. The Duke Blue Devils, despite already putting together a five-man class, are a notch above the rest.
"I think it would be fair to say that Duke is the leader," says the 6-foot-10, 210-pound Raleigh Broughton High (N.C.) senior. "Coach K really had a great in-home visit. He has so much passion and they have a real good recruiting class."
"But it's not written in stone yet."
That class already includes center Michael Thompson, power forward Shelden Williams, guards J.J. Redick and Sean Dockery and swingman Lee Melchionni, who would likely pay his own way for his freshman season.
Randolph isn't concerned with the competition of fighting for playing time with Thompson and Williams.
"It doesn't scare me," he said. "I always said that I want to go to a school that already has a big man. I don't want to play center. What Coach K told me was that Michael Thompson is a pure center and that Shelden and I could play with each other."
However, Randolph hasn't yet made up his mind about Duke. He is still considering Florida, although the Gators are expected to land Chris Bosh in the next couple weeks.
"I like Florida a lot," added Randolph. "The thing they do better than anyone is work with you individually. Their goal is to make sure you improve as a player."
Randolph said he will move up his official visit to Florida, which was originally scheduled for November. He may not take all of his remaining official visits.
The other schools still in the mix include UNC, N.C. State and Kansas. Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek was in for an in-home visit last Tuesday night, hours after the terrorist attacks on America.
"He came in the same day it happened and suggested we have a moment of silence before we started the visit," said Randolph.
Randolph said he probably won't begin eliminating any schools and will likely just make an ultimate decision out of the five finalists.
On N.C. State: "It would be almost like a fairy tale story if I ended up going there. It's only 10 minutes from my house."
On UNC: "They also have a good recruiting class. I really like both Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants. If you look at the roster, when I get there, the power forward spot would be open."
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