"It's going to be a big weekend in this whole process," Chasson Randle told The Bootleg in a Wednesday interview, speaking of his upcoming visit to Stanford this weekend. "It's an opportunity to go and see the school again, this time with my mom and my younger sister. I'm looking forward to a great weekend, meeting guys on the team and more of the staff."
There are no shortage of colleges that have offered Randle and would love to have his athletic services. Why would Randle visit Stanford a second time instead of visiting somewhere else anew?
"Really, when I went the first time, I knew I wanted my mom to see it," said Randle, who now is taking his official to Stanford, after last summer's unofficial visit. "I want to let her see how great it was. One time wasn't enough for such a big decision. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure you have a good opinion about it and (give it) a second look."
Having his curious family in tow only ups the stakes further for the Stanford program in its quest to land the coveted point guard. If Chasson's visit weren't important enough already, Randle adds that his family will play a major role in his decision as well.
"They're really important," he said. "My mom is really important in my life, my mentor, the person I always talk to when I'm making a big decision. So she's going to have a huge say in what goes on. Then my sister is my little buddy. I pick on her a little bit like you do with a little sibling, but she gives me advice too at times."
In his opening quote, Randle mentioned a desire to spend time with the team and staff – the people with whom he would be interact the most over the next four years – and when we probed further, Randle reiterated that the highest priority on his agenda was indeed seeing how well he meshed with his potential future teammates.
"I'm really looking forward to spending time with the guys on the team, to have an opportunity to do that and see what else I didn't see the first time," he said. "I really just want to re-evaluate things while I'm out there."
Understandably, it will be a tough decision for Randle, and unlike other many student-athletes who visit Palm-lined Palo Alto with their minds all but made up, Randle gives no signs that he's a shoo-in for Stanford. It's an open, competitive recruitment, he says, between Stanford, Illinois and Purdue.
"I have three schools, Illinois, Purdue and Stanford, and my timeline is to decide hopefully before the season starts in November," Randle said. "I can't give an exact date of when I'll make my decision, but hopefully before we tip off on Thanksgiving. So I guess that's my deadline – the day before Thanksgiving.
But I'll decide as soon as I get the idea and finish my officials. When I'm ready, I'll make my decision."
Stanford has its obvious draws, of which The Bootleg readership are well aware, but despite the challenging weather, so do Illinois and Purdue, as Randle lays out.
"Those two have been recruiting me for about three years, ever since my freshman year of high school," said Randle, now the #9 point guard in his 2011 class per Scout.com. "So it's been great just having those two recruiting me, loyal to me. I feel like I can be successful at either one. Illinois is close to home. Purdue is close also. The coaching staffs are great. I had the chance to meet players at both schools, and they're good schools overall."
Randle took his Purdue official the weekend of Sept. 25, and after his visit to the Farm this weekend (where he'll catch the Stanford/USC football game), Randle is off to Illinois for an official visit next weekend, presumably taking in their "Illini Madness" event at Huff Hall, where they will put the full-court press on Randle with the fairly funny stylings of "Slap Chop" rapper Steve Porter. All the travel brings into full consideration the issues of commuting and distance, but Randle insists those will not be major determinative factors.
"Distance is not that big of a factor," he said. "The biggest factor is my comfort level for the four years I'm going to be attending the school. I know it won't be perfect, but I want something close to it, or the best for me and my family."
With a Thanksgiving deadline (and, of
course, the possibility of a decision as early as Oct. 17, when he
finishes his Illinois official visit), one school will be giving thanks, and two
schools will be left looking like turkeys. Don't let the tryptophan cause you to
sleep on this recruitment! "Get your popcorn ready" and stay tuned to The Bootleg
for all the latest!
Editor's Note: Many readers may wonder how an academically-gifted young man would even consider passing up a world-class undergraduate education offered by Stanford, but one must remember that not every school recruits nationally. The basketball powers in the midwest rarely choose to reach outside their regional backyards. The current Purdue basketball roster shows 11 players from the state of Indiana, two from Illinois, one from Ohio and a lone Croatian. The Illini have nine kids from the state of Illinois, one from Missouri and one from Virginia. Stanford? The University draws its students from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. It isn't surprising that our basketball players hail from California (5), Washington (2), Wisconsin (1), Delaware (1) Texas (1), Georgia (1), Alabama (1), Montana (1), and Canada (2). The Stanford Women's hoops team is comprised of players from the following states: California (3), Arizona, Illinois (2), New York, Ohio, Texas (2), Maine, Montana, Nevada, and Washington, D.C.
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