Born in Dallas, Texas, Julius Randle is considered one of the best players in the class of 2013. In fact, before Andrew Wiggins reclassified to 2013, he was regarded by many as the best high school player to be attending college in 2013.
Randle was highly sought after by many big schools. Texas, Kansas and Florida were all in the mix before Randle made his decision to go to Kentucky, which in 2013 amassed the most dominant recruiting class in the history of college ball. Randle is one of six high school all Americans that will be arriving to Kentucky campus in 2013.
During his senior season, Randle fractured his foot and missed most of the regular season. He was able to return for the playoffs and didn’t miss a beat, leading his team to a state title in the 5A playoffs. Any worries about his ability to come back from his injury were evaporated during that playoff run.
Have a look at some of his highlights to get an idea on Randle’s type of game.
Randle has the NBA body already. In high school, it looks like a man playing amongst boys. He stands at 6″9 and 250 pounds of pure muscle and he knows how to use his body to his advantage which is a good thing as he will be expected to play a lot of power forward in college. He is currently listed as kind of a swing forward, able to play both the 3 and the 4.
On the offensive end, Randle is highly skilled and extremely versatile. He is comfortable creating his own shot with the ball in his hands. For his size and length, his hand-eye coordination is extremely impressive and definitely above average. Using his dribble, he is able to get to the rim where he finishes at an elite level or take a shot off the dribble which he can also do really well.
Not only is he dangerous with his dribbling, he has shown great range from beyond the arc which really forces his defenders to guard him every where once the ball crosses the half court. The ability to step out and hit the college three opens up his entire game because he is able to give himself some room to use his dribble. It will also be really important in college because it will allow his teammates a lot more room to run sets on the court.
Randle’s post game has improved greatly in his four years in high school. He is not the best player down low but he knows how to operate down there when needed and will bang bodies if it is asked of him. Though a bit mechanical with his motions, he is learning to get the moves down to a pat and once they become natural, his smoothness will shine through and allow him to be a great scorer in the paint as well.
Not only is Randle highly skilled, he has a great work ethic and a really high motor. He is a gym rat that is always willing to learn and has shown to be extremely coachable. Like Jabari Parker, he is one of those players you can kind of forget when you’re away from the team because you know he is either off studying or working on his game. He will be a great ambassador for Kentucky. He also has a built in basketball advantage in the fact that he is left handed and that messes with defender’s minds. The defensive instinct is always to guard someone as if they were right handed and that is something players will have to adjust to with Randle.
While he is so big and strong, Randle plays a little bit too much like a guard from time to time. He has a tendency of falling in love with his jump shot. While his shot is quite good, he needs to focus on getting to the rim as much as possible because that is where he gets his highest percentage shots.
As mentioned above, he will need to work on his post game some more. His moves are coming too slowly and not naturally enough yet. While he can get away with that playing against smaller players in high school, college teams will have guys that can defend the post extremely well and will see slow moves coming from a mile away.
Defensively, he hasn’t really shown any development or strong instincts. He will need to be coached effectively in the ways of stopping the ball and about help defense. Randle seems to spend many defensive possessions waiting to get back on offense, which for a high school player is not something that is unique to him. Randle will probably never be an elite defender, he has the body and physical skill set to be a competent defender at a high level and he should strive to achieve that.
In his mind, it appears that Randle fancies himself a small forward but Kentucky and especially NBA teams, are going to want him to play most of his time as a power forward. It remains to be seen how Randle will adjust to that if he is indeed asked to play most of his minutes at the 4.
What to expect at Kentucky:
The 2013-14 Wildcats are absolutely loaded with talent. It will be interesting to see if any of these six freshman stand out amongst the others. If there was a favorite to become the go-to player, it would have to be Randle.
In college, he should be able to find his own shot right away and score from pretty much anywhere on the court. His motor keeps him on attack mode offensively all game long and he is constantly pursuing the ball, that should translate into college fairly easily.
Chances are that Randle will have a great year for Kentucky and do enough to go high in the 2014 NBA draft lottery. Hopefully he decides not to be a one and done as he can greatly improve himself even more with a few years in college but odds are that if the NBA money is on the table, he won’t be staying any longer than he has to.