It’s easy to forget that at one time, Prestonwood Christian forward Julius Randle was the #1-overall player in the 2013 recruiting class. But a senior season cut short due to a foot injury, coupled with the reclassification of Huntington Prep forward Andrew Wiggins, Randle saw his ranking fall as more attention began being paid to Wiggins, along with Simeon forward Jabari Parker.
The weekend after Thanksgiving in his senior season, Randle fractured his foot playing in a tournament and missed three months as a result.
But that doesn’t take away from the kind of player Randle is, or the impact he’ll have on a Kentucky team hoping to get back to the Final Four after getting their in two of the past three seasons. Only twice before in the program’s tradition-rich history has UK made three Final Fours in a 4-year span. (1948, ’49, ’51 & 1996, ’97, ’98), but Randle is the kind of talent that can help the Cats accomplish this feat.
Once Randle was healthy in March, he returned for the Texas 5A playoffs and led his team to its third state title in four years.
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News on what makes Randle special:
If Randle gets the ball in the right spots, he can score off the bounce, go to either hand, overpower guys. He is so freaking quick, too. You have to see him to appreciate how strong and quick he really is.
As a sophomore, I thought he was a big, strong kid who wasn’t athletic. Then the next year I saw him and he was just unbelievable. He is a great athlete, too. He’s really got a chance to be special.
-Measured 6-10 in shoes, and 240 pounds at the Nike Skills Academies
-Outstanding athlete in terms of fluidity, agility and explosiveness
-Great first step. Tremendous ball-handler for size, with excellent body control slithering his way around opponents
-Rare combination of finesse and power
-Unstoppable mismatch threat at high school level. Too strong for forwards to handle inside, and too skilled for big men to stop from the perimeter
-Draws fouls, gets to the free throw line prolifically
-Spins, and finishes through contact, bounces off opponents
-Has a back to basket game. Can post up
-Tremendous footwork for a player his age
-Absolutely lethal in transition
-Competes on defense
-Willing to compete inside the paint
-Done a great job with body
He’s a tough one to compare so we’ll roll out Marvin Williams meets Caron Butler with a Kevin Garnett-ish motor. The left-hander is a pro in the making. He loves to catch on the blocks or extended, face and weigh his options. Not afraid to go glass and can drive it from mid-range going either way. Basically, he’s a real problem. When he needs to, he can explode and is a conscientious rebounder. His touch around the rim and ability to leap multiple times is noteworthy. The young man has counters and power moves. If he likes his matchup, he’ll dive right to the blocks and set up shop. There isn’t a spot on the floor where he can’t begin his drive or jumper. Likes the baseline too and will hit high-arching fadeaways. Randle owns a motor and has an affinity for playing hard.