It ended up being a pretty good weekend for Julius Randle. The No. 2-ranked player in the class of 2013 returned from a broken foot and then completed his official visits with a trip to Kansas.
Things got started on Friday night as the 6-foot-9 senior forward made his return to the floor. Randle hadn't taken the floor with his Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian team since two days after Thanksgiving, and he returned for senior night to lead it to a win while posting 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in just 15 minutes.
"It feels good to finally be back," Randle told Rivals.com. "I'm healthy and back on the floor with my team. Knowing I have the ability to finish out the season with my team is great. It's really good.
"I was a little rusty. I'm just working myself back into a rhythm and getting used to playing again. As far as my conditioning goes, I felt good."
After his Friday night game, Randle hopped an early Saturday flight to Kansas. When he arrived at around 8 a.m., there were fans and autograph seekers waiting for him at the airport. From there, it was on to Lawrence, where he said he was showered with attention when he arrived in time to see ESPN's "College GameDay" being shown from Allen Fieldhouse.
"It was great," Randle said of his Kansas visit. "I've always known a lot about Kansas. It was like my fourth time up there, but I feel like I know a lot more now."
Randle knew what to expect from the fans. However, what stood out to him was learning more specifics about the inner workings of Bill Self's program.
"I really got to see everything that goes into the program," Randle said. "Like when they get a big-time player, everything that goes into developing that player on the court, in the weight room, it's top notch for real."
As he's done on each of his visits, Randle spent a good amount of time speaking with the head coach to get an idea of how Self envisions Randle in his program.
"He thinks that I fit their system as far as players they've had in the past," Randle said. "The spots he put them in at around 15 feet or catching in the post or isolated on the side, he thinks I can excel in all those areas.
"He feels what I can do differently than any other player that he has had is get the ball off the glass and bring it up. If I don't get the rebound, he feels I should be the first person up the floor and get to my sweet spot. As long as I defend and rebound, he'll let me play with as much freedom as I want."
Now that he has completed an official visit to Kansas along with his other finalists of Florida, Kentucky, N.C. State and Texas, Randle will meet with those closest to him -- his mother, Carolyn, and mentor/coach, Jeff Webster -- to decide what the next step will be so that he can move toward ending his recruitment within the next month.
"I'll probably talk to Jeff tomorrow and will probably go to his house, and then my mom will be over there," Randle said. "We'll talk about things and look to make a date for a decision. I think between now and the middle of March, when my season and spring break is over, I'll want to get it done.
"I can't say that I'm sad I've had my last visit; I'm ready to get this done."
Randle has heard all of the speculation about which school he might pick and why. He's seen the best each coach and program have to offer, and now it is all about figuring out where he'll be the happiest.
"I think I've got pretty good information in terms of what I'm looking for," Randle said. "I know the pros and cons of every school, and I think they've all done a good job of selling themselves to me. Now I have to look at where I'll have the most fun, where I'll be happiest.
"I know that if I'm happy I'll play my best. Even if I'm struggling, being happy makes it easier to get through any adversity."
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