It;s going to be impossible to avoid the hype and the Julius Randle/Andrew Wiggins comparisons this season. And on Tuesday night, the nation will get to see Randle and Wiggins in back to back games in the State Farm Champions Classic. But until then, we can continue the debate as to which player is better. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman talked to some NBA folks (in a pay ESPN) article after Friday’s opening game and well, Randle definitely impressed. Here is what the NBA folks had to say about Randle:
“His body, his shoulders are so big. You know it, but it’s different when you see it in person. There’s just not much you can do about him. He’s so strong and so quick off the floor. He goes hard. He’s a man. He needs to do a better job finishing through contact. But he’s so big and strong that you expect him to dominate. What people are going to forget is that he’s still just a kid.”
The game one comments on Wiggins? Not as glowing.
“Great athlete, no way he’s the top pick in the draft. Julius Randle is better. There’s just way too much hype. His skill level is average. He made a few shots but plays straight up and down and doesn’t have any playmaking skills. Everything has to be a straight-line drive. Right now, he’s the third- or fourth-best player for Kansas. He’s long and athletic but has a long way to go.”
Keep in mind, this is just one game out of forty … and this was before Randle’s 22 point, 14 board performance yesterday. We will get a better gauge on Tuesday as they guys go up against top-notch opposition, but it will be a fun debate. Make sure to check out Goodman’s article for comments on the rest of UK’s freshmen.
There has been a lot of buzz about Randle’s start to the season and the numbers are impressive. Randle has 45 points and 30 rebounds in just 55 minutes. Ben Roberts took a look at how Randle’s first two game stack up to other past backcourt players first two games and the number is staggering. It should be noted however, that most of the players on the list have had a top opponent in their opening games. Kentucky has had Kansas and Duke the first two games thanks to the State Farm Champions Classic while Randle has had decidedly easier competition.
While Kentucky was dismantling Northern Kentucky yesterday, there were some impressionable eyes watching. 2015 recruit Montaque Gill-Caesar was in attendance taking in the game.
Gill-Caesar — a small forward in the Class of 2015 — sat directly behind the Kentucky bench with his high school coach, Huntington Prep’s Rob Fulford. They chatted with UK assistant Orlando Antigua before the game and Antigua and Fulford walked off the court together after the UK victory. Scout.com ranks Gill-Caesar as the No. 18 overall prospect in the junior class. He already has offers from Ohio State, Baylor, West Virginia, Illinois and several others. The 6-foot-5 prospect also came to Lexington for an unofficial visit last fall.