The Kentucky Wildcats crushed the Eastern Michigan Eagles as expected 81-63. Eastern Michigan put up a good fight, leading to only a three point deficit at half time, but couldn’t keep up with the far superior Wildcats in the second half. Aaron Harrison scored 22 points and had zero turnovers in an outstanding performance for the highly recruited freshman. However, freshman superstar Julius Randle showed that he may be hurting the team far more than he’s helping it, with five turnovers.
When John Calipari got the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for 2013, it was obvious that most of his team would be future NBA first round picks. Of all the future NBA talent Calipari recruited, 6-foot-9 forward Randle was the most highly touted. He’s expected to be one of the top five picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.
There’s no question that Randle is an outstanding basketball player. So far this season, he’s averaging 20 points a game along with 14 rebounds; he’s definitely one of the most explosive players in the country. However, because of his athleticism and offensive talent, it’s easy to overlook his flaws.
One of the most crucial stats in games against the better NCAA teams is turnovers, and Randle has a serious turnover problem. Averaging nearly five turnovers a game, he really hurts Kentucky more than he helps them at times. He had eight turnovers in the loss to Michigan State and five in the last two games against really weak teams. He cannot continue to turn the ball over, or Kentucky is going to struggle against upcoming opponents like the No. 18 Baylor Bears, the No. 16 North Carolina Tar Heels and the No. 9 Louisville Cardinals.
Don’t get me wrong, Randle will continue to be a major part of Kentucky’s success throughout the remainder of the season. However, Calipari needs to calm him down and force him to take better care of the ball, or Randle might be the reason they end up not achieving their dreams of a National Championship.