A few weeks before the McDonald’s All American rosters were revealed in mid February, Julius Randle and his mother Carolyn Kyles spoke with McDonald’s All American committee chairman Morgan Wootten on the phone about the prospects of Randle being added to the game despite being sidelined with a fractured foot since late November.
“Mr. Wootten told us that if Julius was healthy enough to play in the game at a high level, they would have no problem adding him,” Kyles said. “When he said that, I wasn’t worried about J making the game. It’s been a dream of his. I knew he’d make it happen.”
Moms know best.
Randle, who is ranked No. 2 in the Rivals150, returned to the court on Feb. 15 and instantly transformed Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) from state champion afterthought to back-to-back TAPPS 5A state title winners.
As a result, the McDonald’s All American committee added Randle as its 25th member Wednesday morning. The game is April 3 (9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) at the United Center in Chicago.
Over five games, Randle averaged 28.8 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. He upped that to 32.5 points and 15.5 in the state Final Four.
“I’m so happy right now, it’s a great feeling because this is something that I’ve always dreamed of,” said Randle, who will suit up for the East. “I wasn’t sure if it was gonna happen or not, but now that it has I’m just so blessed. It’s an honor.”
Randle’s late addition marks the third time the McDonald's All American committee has added a player after the initial release of the roster, according to director Douglas Freeland.
DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) guard Dereck Whittenburg was added late in 1979 and Shaker (Latham, N.Y.) forward Sam Perkins, who was named as one of McDonald’s 35 greatest All Americans, was also added late in 1980.
“It was really a no-brainer for us,” Freeland said. “We wanted him to get back on the court as ‘Julius Randle,’ meaning come back strong, but he went well above anything that we could’ve imagined. He’s truly a special player and we’re so excited to have him in this game.”
Kyles said, in hindsight, Randle’s rehabbing process was a blessing in disguise.
“I’ve been crying ever since I heard he’d been added because when it happened there was so much we didn’t know,” Kyles said. “Basketball is everything for him, and I would just keep telling him to trust God and in the end it would reveal itself. And that’s what happened. His body has gotten much-needed rest, but the last two weeks has been amazing. We went back and started from the bottom, now we’re here.”
The only thing left for Randle is to decide on a college.
On March 20, he’ll pick between Kansas, Kentucky, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Florida and Texas.
“I’m not sure where I want to go,” Randle said. “But this can be a stressful thing, and I set the date to give myself a cutoff for a decision. I don’t want it to linger on. I feel like I’m confident enough in myself that by that time I’ll feel 100 percent about where I’ll go. For now, I’m just enjoying being a McDonald’s All American.”
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