Julius Randle came to Kentucky as the highest ranked player on a team full of topnotch high school prospects. If Andrew Wiggins had not reclassified to the 2013 class, Randle would have been the number one recruit in the country. It was almost guaranteed that the top power forward in the country would be at Kentucky for only one season, and that prediction turned out to be correct. After a great year in Lexington, Randle opted to enter the NBA draft as a shoo-in lottery pick.
Important Stats at Kentucky:
Points per game- 15.0
Rebounds per game- 10.5
AP Third Team All American
SEC Rookie of the Year
First Team All SEC
NBA Draft Combine Measurable:
Height- 6'9" in shoes
Weight- 250 pounds
Max Vertical- 35.5"
NBAdraft.net- #5 to the Utah Jazz
Draftexpress.com- #6 to the Boston Celtics
ESPN.com- #6 to the Boston Celtics
Strengths: Julius has an NBA ready body, more so than just about any player in the draft. He has the strength and the muscle to withstand the pounding that big men take down low in the Association. Randle is also uniquely athletic for his size. He showcased his ability to take the ball up the court and outrun players that were much smaller than him. He is a double-double machine, getting the bulk of his points snatching offensive rebounds. He has very good post moves for such a young player which includes a spit towards the basket and a devastating drop step. Randle has the skills to dribble around players or shake off defenders on the way to the basket. He has the mentality of a bull around the rim but does his work with an unexpected finesse. He plays with a high motor and is an extremely coachable player. His style of play puts him at the free throw line quite often, where he shot 70.6% his freshman season. While that is a decent number, it can be much better.
What Needs Work: Julius' jump shot is spotty which in turn limits his offensive capability and makes him one dimensional. Randle needs to develop and jump shot around the free throw line and at the elbow to make him a more dangerous player. There were times at Kentucky when his defense was lacking and seemed to be secondary. He is also left hand dominant and never really exhibited any type of offensive maneuvers with his right hand. As athletic as Julius is, he never really played above the rim. Many of his shots around the rim were floaters that could easily be blocked by bigger defenders.
Final Analysis: While Julius may not be a franchise defining player like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or Kevin Durant, he is going to be a very good pro. The team that drafts him will get dependable guy that will bring his "A" game every time he takes the floor. His skill set is valuable and his flaws are easily correctable with hard work and practice. He has the chance to be an elite power forward for a long time in the NBA. Julius has a never quit attitude that will take him as far as he wants.
While Randle was more of a scorer at the begginning of the season, teams started to key on him and he was forced to alter his game, sometimes reluctantly so. There were times in SEC play when he would take on three or four players at a time on offense only to commit a turnover or take a bad shot. This led to frustration on the part of coach John Calipari. During the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament, Julius become a much better passer and decision maker, getting the ball out to the open man while being double-teamed instead of trying to create something that just wasn't there. This willingness to change and share the ball is what will cement him as a starter in the NBA from the first day
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