Comes now Julius Randle, the Alpha Dog, to talk about himself, his game, his teammates, why he came to Kentucky, and much more. There is a lot in here to like, and frankly, to love.
The one most important takeaway from this video is Randle talking about how he and the Harrison twins all hate to lose, but him in particular. I think you all remember my discussion last year about the difference between loving to win and hating to lose. Here's a taste in case you've forgotten:
This is a team that loves to win, but doesn’t hate to lose.
That may seem like distinction without a difference, but it really isn’t. When you love something, you want it a lot, even to the extent it becomes your whole world. You immerse yourself in trying to get it, and when you do, you are happy. When you don’t you are sad, but you know that there will be other chances. Tomorrow will come. Love is gentle, love is kind. Love is good.
A person who hates to lose is a completely different animal. "Hate," even when used in this context, is a much more powerful, raw emotion. It will drive people consumed by it to try anything to make it stop — compulsive practice, every available moment trying to figure out how to win, because the alternative is intolerable. People who hate to lose are driven by pain, rather than drawn by pleasure. The sun may come up tomorrow to these people, but they can’t get that victory back — it’s gone.
This seems to completely describe the feelings about losing that Julius Randle was expressing in this Q&A session. Randle hates to lose, and he will not accept it. Evidently, Aaron and Andrew Harrison are cut from the same cloth — the loathing of losing is something built into their shared DNA, stitched there by the Almighty at birth.
These are the kind of players that take losing as a personal affront, a direct assault on all that they are and aspire to be. Players like that will crawl over a mile of broken glass on their bellies if that's what it takes to fix the problem.
Perhaps the rest of Kentucky's players have this same deep, personal loathing of losing, I don't know. What I do know is that it doesn't take a whole team like that to win, it just takes a few. They will drag the lovers of winning along with them, because they know this is a team sport and that it takes a team to win.
It's what last year's team manifestly lacked, and why this team is going to succeed where they failed.