It’s early in the college basketball season, but one of the best players in the nation thus far has been one freshman power forward Julius Randle. He just turned 19 on Thanksgiving, but he’s already showing the type of talent to become the top NBA Draft prospect of 2014.
In his first game as a college player, Randle scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in just 26 minutes against UNC Asheville. But his best performance came against the Michigan State Spartans, who boast one of the best frontcourts in the nation. But that didn’t stop the freshman from bullying his way to 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Last night, Randle gets 8th double-double of season against the previously-undefeated Boise State Broncos, registering 17 points and 11 rebounds. Only two games this season has Randle not put up a double-double.
Through four games, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound big man is averaging 17.8 points and 12 rebounds. He is making 54 percent of his field-goal attempts and has been one of the most consistent star s in college basketball this year.
And in his latest NBA Mock Draft, Chris Mannix of Sports illustrated tabbed Randle ad the No. 1 overall prospect for next June’s draft:
The elevation of Randle is no knock on Wiggins, who remains a tantalizing talent who could easily slide back into the No. 1 spot over the next few months. But NBA scouts have gushed about the inside-out play of Randle, a prototypical power forward who creates mismatches all over the floor. With dozens of NBA scouts in attendance for Kentucky’s game against Michigan State last month, Randle scored 27 points (on 9-of-14 shooting) and pulled down 13 rebounds. Said one NBA GM in attendance, “This kid is a beast.”