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Top recruit Julius Randle blogs about his injury and McDonald's AA Game Hopes

Julius Randle is the top-ranked prospect in the Rivals150 for 2013 and recently cut his list down to six – Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Florida and Oklahoma. Randle, a forward at Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), has agreed to give USA TODAY High School Sports exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a monthly blog.

What’s up everybody!

By now I’m sure you’ve probably heard about my injury, so I’m sure you want to hear about what all happened.

This is the first time I’ve talked about it.

I was playing in a game against Duncanville at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest and everything was going great. I was hitting my jump shots and feeling great; like all of the work I’d been putting in on my all-around game was really paying off.


Then on one play, I drove baseline when the defense converged on me and jumped up, but when I came down my foot just didn’t feel right. I knew something was wrong so I went straight to the training room. It was pretty much a freak thing because I didn’t step on anyone’s foot or anything, I just came down regular. It felt like there was a small knot on the bottom of my foot or something. I was hoping that when I got the training room that it was a strain or a sprain or something minor, but it just kept getting worse. In the back of my mind I knew that it wasn’t good.

When I got the news that it was a fracture I was devastated. It’s hard to describe how I felt. It’s hard to put that into words. I put so much into this game and to have it just taken away is hard to deal with. I just didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be alone. It was hard at first. I went back to my godfather’s house and tried to sleep it off. I was really hoping that it was all just a bad dream. I know that sounds crazy.

It’s hard now, but I’m dealing with it better. The way I look at it is everything happens for a reason. Every day I tell myself that I’m not gonna get down or be negative because none of that will help. That’s not gonna make me heal any faster, so it’s a waste of time.

I’m 100 percent focused on working hard to get back on the court. I’m doing a lot of upper-body lifting and lots of shooting drills where I’m stationary. I honestly think that my jump shot is getting better and better.

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I go to the doctor today and I’m hoping for some good news. I’m hoping to get off of these crutches.

I’ll go ahead and let you guys know that I don’t see it taking three months to get healthy. I’m gonna go hard and I plan to be back sooner. I know that Marcus Paige at UNC had the same injury and he was back in eight weeks, so I know it’s possible. Don’t worry, if it takes the three months I’m OK with that, but my goal is to be back before then.

Of course all of the coaches recruiting me have reached out to me.

Actually, a lot of the coaches that are no longer on my list reached out too. We’ve talked to Coach (Roy) Williams at North Carolina, coaches at Oklahoma State, Baylor and we’ve talked to Coach (Jeff) Capel at Duke too. I just really appreciated that. I already knew, but that really showed me how great those coaches were.

I had a really good talk with Coach (John) Calipari since my injury too. He’s funny. He told me that worst-case scenario, if I never play again, I could still come to Kentucky on scholarship and after I graduate I’d be his assistant. The crazy thing is that I know he’s serious about that. It just showed me how much he really cared about me and my future. That meant a lot to me.

Rick Barnes was reassuring me that he still wants me and Coach Mark Gottfried was actually there when the injury happened. He told me that he knew exactly what it was when it happened and he knew I would come back even better. All of the coaches have been great throughout the whole process.

Of course you guys know that I’ve gotten tons of messages on Twitter mostly supporting me so I really appreciate all of those. Then I also got some hate messages too. I remember one from a UNC fan cursing me out and telling me this happened because I cut them from my list. Just crazy stuff. I just laugh at stuff like that.

My next visit will be to N.C. State the weekend of Jan. 26, and I cannot wait to get down there to hang out with the coaches and my boy Rodney (Purvis). I talk to him all the time and he tells me about how he’s doing and things like that. The whole team and staff seem pretty close, so I really like that.

I will visit Texas on Feb. 9 and Kansas on Feb. 16. I’m looking forward to taking those visits; I know I’ll have a good time and see everything they’ve got to offer.

I’m not sure when I’ll decide; I may do it after my high school season is over or after the college season is over. I’m not sure yet. I know that it’ll be time to decide before you know it so I’ve been thinking about things a lot more now.

One other thing that I’ve really been thinking about is the McDonald’s All-American game. I know I’ll be OK basketball-wise, but the one thing that this injury has done is get me worried about my chances to fulfill my dream of playing in this game.

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine, and to think that something that was completely out of my control could stop me from playing really bothers me. I’ll definitely be back to 100 percent well before the McDonald’s game so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to play. I had heard that you have to play in a certain amount of games during the season to be eligible, and I’m working hard to get back as soon as I possibly can.

I’ll do whatever it takes to play in the game. I have heard that the rule was put in place for guys who move around to different schools, and that’s not me. I’m just hoping that the committee will be able to see what I’ve done to this point and feel like it’s enough to get me in, especially since it was a freak accident that has me sidelined and I’ll be back and ready way before the game.

Growing up you always see your favorite players play in that game. I’ve talked to so many guys who have played in that game and they’ve told me how great it is.

All of my favorite players have played in it, and I want to have my own experience at the game. I’ve got a 3.1 GPA and I definitely don’t get into any trouble or anything. I just work hard at this game and I’m hoping that’s gonna be enough to get me in. I’m leaving it in God’s hands.

OK guys, I’m gonna get out of here now and finish up this paper for school.

As always, I appreciate you guys for all of the support and the messages after my injury. That means a lot to me so thank you. I’ll be back soon with another blog entry so check back for that.

Until next time.

Don’t forget to follow Randle on Twitter: @J30_Randle



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