Kentucky Basketball: Forgoing NBA Draft, Staying With Wildcats Would Benefit Julius Randle

By Taylor Sturm
Julius Randle NBA
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a team better known for the one-and-done mentality in college basketball than the Kentucky Wildcats led by head coach John Calipari. Calipari and the term “one-and-done” have become synonymous in the past few seasons with players like Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, John Wall and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leaving after one season in college and having success in the NBA.

Now, as Kentucky looks at a trip to the Final Four, the question is whether or not superstar freshman Julius Randle will surprisingly remain at the school or fit that one-and-done mold and go to the NBA. It’s highly likely that he will declare for the 2014 NBA Draft; he would have declared in high school if it was still allowed.

However, as crazy as it sounds, Randle staying another year will not only benefit the Wildcats in the future, but, more importantly, it will benefit Randle himself.

The main argument when it comes to players leaving for the NBA is that college basketball doesn’t pay actual money for players to go to school, whereas the NBA provides financial security for both the player and his family. However, in Randle’s case, it would actually pay for him to stay another year with the Wildcats.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the average salaries of NBA rookies last season.

Randle is projected to go between third and fifth overall, depending on how the NBA Draft Lottery plays out and which teams are interested. If he was to stay another year in college, he would naturally jump up to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, barring one of the incoming freshmen averaging ridiculous numbers.

The No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft’s contract was around $4.4 million the first year, $4.6 million the second and $4.8 million the third. The median contract for the third to fifth pick was around $3.2 million the first year, $3.4 million the second and $3.6 the fourth. So, on average, by going early to the NBA, Randle is actually losing, approximately, a free $3.6 million by declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft.

I get it; it’s hard to look to the future when someone’s starting salary for playing a game that they already love is in the millions. However, $3.6 million is basically a rookie year in the NBA that Randle would get without actually playing in the NBA. Randle would be able to play in college, refine his game under a good coach like Calipari and, statistically, strengthen the chances of a long, successful NBA career.

So, to the Kentucky fans who think that Randle should stay another year to try and lead Kentucky to a National Championship or that he should do it for Big Blue Nation, remember, nothing speaks louder to a potential one-and-done than money. And guess what — another year at Kentucky for Randle would pay off exponentially.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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