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January 26, 2013

Julius Randle, numerous others in town today

Julius Randle's official visit to NC State this weekend might be the most anticipated trip since a pair of current NBA players was on campus.

Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Randle as the No. 1 power forward and the No. 2 senior in the country. The Wolfpack have been actively recruiting the Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian standout for nearly three years off and on.

The last time such a highly ranked player officially visited NC State was when Rivals.com No. 3-ranked Derrick Favors came Oct. 15, 2008. He was joined on his visit by No. 1-ranked John Wall, who unofficially visiting since he was from Raleigh. Favors eventually picked Georgia Tech and currently plays for the Utah Jazz, while Wall went to Kentucky and is now with the Washington Wizards.

Randle unofficially visited NC State for the Western Carolina game Dec. 31, 2011, while coming through town with his prep team after playing in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The chance to see the Wolfpack in action combined with the recruiting efforts of second-year head coach Mark Gottfried and assistant coach Orlando Early helped lock in Randle's third official visit this fall. He previously made an official visit to Kentucky Sept. 14-16 and to Florida Oct. 5-7.

Randle has also scheduled future official visits to Texas Feb. 8 and Kansas Feb. 15. Oklahoma rounds out his list of six schools.

"I cannot wait to get down there to hang out with the coaches and my boy Rodney [Purvis of NC State]," Randle wrote in his blog for USAToday.com. "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."

Randle also predicted a NC State victory over North Carolina in Saturday night's game.

"They had the big win over Duke [Jan. 12], and it shows how much they're growing as a program," Randle noted. "Coach Early from State actually came out to my school today for my workout and we had a really good talk about things. He was basically telling me about how I could come in and play a role similar to the one C.J. Leslie has been playing this year.

"He said he thinks I'm the missing piece that they need. I like Coach Early and Coach Gottfried. They're real cool, and they come at me pretty hard."

Randle injured his foot during a tournament over Thanksgiving in November, but hopes to return for the various all-star games. He was recently selected to play in the prestigious Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore. The game will pit 10 players from the U.S. against 10 international standouts April 20, and is usually nationally televised.

Randle first burst on to the scene nationally at the Orlando Super Showcase at Disney World the summer going into his sophomore year. Former NC State assistant coach Monte Towe, the starting point guard on the Wolfpack's 1974 national title team, was good friends with Team Texas Titans coach Scott Pospichal. Randle squared off against Purvis in the semifinals, and the two have been good friends ever since.

Gottfried and Early eventually took the baton on the Randle recruitment and watched him extensively during the April and July evaluations periods this past year.

Gottfried was also in attendance when Randle got injured this season.

The addition of Randle would likely push NC State's No. 11-ranked recruiting class into the top five nationally. Randle would join three other top-100 players in No. 11-ranked Anthony Barber of Hampton (Va.) High, No. 49 BeeJay Anya of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic and No. 99 Kyle Washington of Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy. Barber might make the trip to Raleigh to watch the Wolfpack Saturday.

Several other recruits could also be in attendance for the North Carolina game. Senior center Sidy Djitte of Fayetteville (N.C.) Northwood Temple, junior shooting guard Ahmed Hill of Augusta (Ga.) Aquinas, junior combo forward Isaac Copeland of Crozet (Va.) Miller School, sophomore point guard Perry Dozier of Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley High and freshman forward Harry Giles of High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan have all indicated they plan to attend the game.

Rivals.com ranks Hill the No. 25 overall player in the class of 2014, and Copeland is at No. 45.

Dozier is a four-star prospect in the class of 2015, and is the son of former South Carolina power forward Perry Dozier.

Giles is being hailed as one of the top freshman in the country and was a standout performer at the USA Under-16 National Team trials last October in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Impressive freshman Harry Giles isn't just one of the best 2016 prospects, he's probably one of the top five or six prospects in camp," reported Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi on Giles' performance at the trials. "The power forward checks in at around 6-foot-8, and the North Carolina native has game. He runs the floor, is quick, has great hands and is already pretty skilled with good overall footwork. All of the local high majors have been in to see him, and he's likely to be a national level recruit."

Hill previously went to the Duke game, while Giles went to Primetime With The Pack last October.

NC State junior commits Cody Martin and Caleb Martin of Mocksville (N.C.) Davie County High and Kinston (N.C.) High sophomore Brandon Ingram all attended the Duke game and the Clemson contest Jan. 20, and are planning to attend the UNC game.

Rivals.com ranks Caleb Martin No. 37 in the nation, while Cody Martin is No. 39.

Ingram is a four-star prospect nationally in the class of 2015 and could be the top player in North Carolina in his class.


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