While Andrew Wiggins has caught a lot of the hype for teams preparing to lose this season, there are plenty other competent consolation prizes, Julius Randle being one of them. Randle is a 6-9, 250-pound forward who will be playing his college ball with John Calipari and the superteam over at Kentucky this season.
Just watching tape of Randle for a few minutes and one word pops up into my mind: powerful. Every move he makes, every finish, it’s just powerful. He possesses a very strong body, which he uses to move players and finish strong at the rim. Another thing I took notice of was his handles for someone of his size. He doesn’t move like Chris Paul, but he has to ability to cross a defender and finish at the rim. If you watch any of his highlights, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Watching a guy this size cross someone over at midcourt is jaw dropping. Randle also possesses an ability to finish through contact. He’s a hard guy to stop at the rim, so it leads to him getting fouled and finishing often.
Randle competes and plays like an animal on the court. He has the size of a lion, with the heart of one to complement. He loves to attack the basket and smells when opponents fear him. Unlike Wiggins, who has been criticized for the lack of a killer instinct, Randle definitely won’t have this problem. He will keep going and keep attacking until he’s satisfied. The guy is fearless. That is an attribute you can’t teach and something that’ll help Randle in his NBA career. What he lacks in athleticism, Randle picks back up with his strength and aggression.
Randle has drawn comparison to Chris Webber, but I prefer a Kevin Garnett comparison. Much like Garnett, Randle prefers the face-up game rather than being on the block. That being said, he can still play with his back to the basket. Just the aggression both bring to the court makes them comparable. Imagine Garnett against Randle in the future — that will be one to watch for. Both have “never say die” attitudes, something that is very rare in today’s game.
The only recognizable weakness in his game is his post-up game. He doesn’t go to it enough. Randle really prefers the face-up game over the block. While this works playing against a 6-2 average Joe in high school, he will see problems in the NBA. In order to have a successful career, Randle must refine his post-up game and learn to go to it more rather than settling on a jump shot. Easy? Not exactly. Carmelo Anthony is still learning this deep into his career. Randle’s jump shot will definitely be a positive, but he needs to develop his bread and butter in the NBA.
Defense might be an area of concern for Randle, simply because he doesn’t have a good body for it. In the NBA, he won’t be able to dominate and block shots everywhere like he can in high school. He won’t be taller than every forward or faster than every forward. The competition will be much more equal. Randle will have to put extra work in on his defensive game in order to become a great all-around player. That being said, playing one side of the ball never stopped Carmelo from becoming an All-Star, did it?
Watching more tape of Randle, one begins to wonder if he is so dominate because of his competition. He is literally unstoppable at the high school level. With kids like Randle, I’m glad the one-and-done rule is in effect. At least we get a year to see what they do against college competition and save the world from another Kwame Brown. Randle is still an extremely rare and unique combination of finesse, strength, scoring and ballhandling skills. Players like this don’t come along often, if at all.
Randle’s skills make him a top notch NBA prospect. He has completely dominated the high school level, too strong for other forwards on the block and too skilled on the perimeter for forwards to contain. Randle will have to put in a ton of hard work to truly become successful in the NBA, but he has all the tools to do so. It will be interesting to see how Randle adjusts to the college game at Kentucky, where he will be facing people who can handle him. This is a big year for Randle. Make sure to keep an eye on him and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Where do you see Julius Randle going in the 2014 NBA Draft?
Follow Drew on Twitter at @Dcorrigan50.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.