All Julius Randle needed was a cell phone because he was ready to dial.
Two years ago when he visited Oklahoma, Randle, a junior forward at Prestonwod Christian (Plano, Texas), had the time of his life.
The campus was beautiful; the fans were overly passionate and showed him lots of love, the co-eds were easy on the eyes and the coaches and players treated him like family.
“It was such a great visit,” Randle recalled. “I had a ball.”
So much that he was ready to get then head coach Jeff Capel (now an assistant at Duke) on the line and pledge his allegiance to Sooner Nation.
“I was ready to commit,” said Randle, who is ranked No. 3 in the ESPNU 60. “I had a ball and I loved everything about the campus. Coach Capel and I were close and I loved what he was doing. I had so much fun that I was ready to be a Sooner. Then I got the best advice that I could ever get. My mom and coach told me to not to get caught up in the emotions of the visit.”
Randle took a few days and realized that they were right.
“I ended up going on another visit and had even more fun on that visit,” Randle said. “That showed me right there the importance of stepping away from the situation. You can get caught up on those visits.”
Most players who plan to sign during the NCAA’s Early Signing Period, which starts tomorrow and runs through Nov. 16, have been there, and they all agree that in order to make the best decision possible it’s imperative that emotions remain a non-factor.
“Emotions come for everyone,” said Mitch McGary, a senior at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) who committed to Michigan last week. “You’ve got to go into the visit knowing that you’re gonna have the time of your life and you’ve got to be able to separate that and make an informed decision. Sometimes guys get caught up in the emotion of it all.”
Rodney Purvis said that’s what happened to him when he committed to Louisville last December only to de-commit in May.
Purvis, a senior combo guard at Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), was close to Cardinals assistant Tim Fuller, who eventually left to take an assistant job at Missouri.
“I definitely feel like I made an emotional decision in a way,” said Purvis, who plans to sign with North Carolina State this week. “I committed to Louisville because Coach Fuller was there, but I went out there and had a great few visits and I was ready to commit. It’s so important to do your homework on the schools that you’re interested in. Got to keep your emotions in check.”
That’s where a strong support system comes in handy, according to Tony Parker, a senior forward at Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.).
“I’ve got parents that make sure I don’t get too drawn in with all of the promises and fun times that I have,” said Parker, who will decide between Ohio State, Memphis, Duke and Georgetown. “That’s really important because you end up having the time of your life on those visits. So I started going in to every visit saying ‘I know this is gonna be a 10.’ That helped and my parents helped with that. This isn’t something you wanna rush.”
Still, sometimes you just know.
That was certainly the case for Isaiah Hicks, a junior forward at Oxford Webb (Oxford, N.C.). He got an offer from North Carolina coach Roy Williams during a visit to the campus in August and an hour and a half later, on his ride back home, Hicks called Williams back and accepted.
Yogi Ferrell didn’t even bother to wait until he was in the car last November when he visited Indiana. Ferrell told Indiana coach Tom Crean and his staff before he left.
“It was the right decision for me,” said Ferrell, a senior point guard at Park Tudor (Greenfield, Ind.) who plans to sign with the Hoosiers this week. “Was it an emotional decision? I guess you could say that, but not all emotional decisions mean that they’re wrong. I knew what I was gonna do. My best advice for younger guys is to follow your gut. If that feeling that you’re ready to commit stays with you then it just may be right.”