Apr 22, 2014, 1:57 PM EDT
In a move that shocked absolutely no one, Julius Randle made it official — he will be in the NBA next season.
“Talking with my family, a lot of prayer, I’m deciding to declare for the NBA draft,” Randle said. “I came here to grow and mature. I’ve done that.”
Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 boards despite double- and triple-teams all season long, leading Kentucky to the national title game, a run that helped erase the memory of a disappointing regular season. Randle is expected to be taken in the top five, meaning that he should earn himself a guaranteed two-year contract worth at least $6 million come draft day. That would be enough to convince me to leave school.
Randle is a powerful left-handed forward, strong enough to score in the post and athletic enough to beat slower defenders off the dribble. He’s going to need to add some more finesse moves to his repertoire at the NBA level, as his game right now revolves around overpowering defenders. He won’t be able to do that as consistently at the next level. He also needs to continue to develop his ability to see the floor and distribute the ball. Don’t be surprised to see Randle make a number of all-star teams in his career.
As far as Kentucky is concerned, they are still waiting on four players to make a decision. In the front court, Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee have both decided to return to school while Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress are still in the midst of the deciding their future. The key, however, is going to be whether or not the Harrison twins decide to return to school. The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is midnight on Sunday night.
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