September 26, 2012
How does John Calipari go about recruiting Julius Randle, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013?
He shows off what hardware he's won, who he met and what UK can offer -- but also by being himself.
USAToday's Jason Jordan has a lengthy article documenting Randle's four-day in-home visit tour, of which Kentucky was one (and the second to visit him). From the story:
"Cal is just, well, Cal," [Carolyn] Kyles [Randle's mother] says of Kentucky coach John Calipari, who showed up at 7:45 that evening. "He's just got swag. I mean he had a driver. There wasn't any presentation - it was just Cal talking off the cuff and chilling out with us."
Randle nods and smiles.
"Most coaches sell their school," he says. "Coach Cal carries himself like what he's done sells itself."
Even with that, it's not like Calipari is just going to sit back and hope the recruit persuades himself. He wore his national championship ring and showed pictures of him posing with Jay-Z. He talked about how many first-rounders UK produces.
And even after the visit, Calipari was still on it. After leaving, Calipari texted Randle, "your mom is the best."
The highlights from the other schools recruiting Randle:
-- N.C. State went first, at 10:30 a.m. on the same day as Kentucky. The coaches "admired Randle's trophies, commented on pictures and presented their case for why Randle should run with the Wolfpack," Jordan writes. Randle noted how N.C. State is a rising program, but other than that, nothing really notable emerged from the visit, at least according to Jordan's reporting.
-- North Carolina went third, the day after Kentucky. Roy Williams showed off his bling as well, bringing a box of 30 rings he's won over the years -- including one of Michael Jordan's, which had the intended effect on a basketball player who grew up (like all other basketball players) idolizing His Airness.
-- Duke went next, and coach Mike Krzyzweski made a big point of coaching the Olympic team and how he demonstrated the ability to develop even the most elite of players. Randle noted how Duke seems like a family.
-- Kansas went next, and Randle noted how straightforward Bill Self was. Self walked in the door and immediately announced that he had no championship rings on hand to show off. Self said that he won't be best friends with Randle but will develop his game to where it needs to be.
-- Baylor didn't get an in-home visit in that span (although they tried to get one scheduled for 12:01 a.m., before Randle's mother said she wouldn't be hosting anyone at that hour), but tried to elbow its way in. On the first day of visits, Randle woke up to Baylor basketball flyers scattered on his front porch. On the second day, Randle received a text from one of their coaches that said "Baylor" repeatedly.
The entire series of articles is a fascinating insight into how different coaches go about selling themselves and their programs to the most coveted high school players in the name. Again, you can read it here.
photo via USAToday.