Prep star Julius Randle made headlines this week when he publicly committed to the University of Kentucky, ending months of speculation where the five-star power forward would land. Now that we know where Randle is heading, what should we expect from him as a Wildcat?
A consensus top five pick on just about every major board (Rivals’ No.2, ESPN’s No.3 and Scout.com’s No.5 ranked prep recruit) despite missing the vast majority of the season with a broken foot, Randle opted to join national championship favorites Kentucky over the likes of Kansas, Florida and Texas.
Randle completes one of the greatest basketball recruiting seasons in college history. Coach John Calipari was also able to land star guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, top ten two-guard James Young, and highly touted big men Darkari Johnson and Marcus Lee, forming a team that will undoubtedly be considered the championship favorites heading into next season.
Randle will likely jump straight in as a major contributor to a stacked Kentucky team. Don’t expect Randle to be hanging about on the bench, he will be given the ball from the beginning. He has been compared to versatile NBA big men, including the great Chris Webber, and will be given every opportunity to showcase his tremendous ability.
The 6-foot-nine, 225-pound Randle should slot straight into the Wildcats’ starting lineup alongside a possibly returning Nerlens Noel at the center position. Nobody is really predicting any potential conflict on the block between the raw Noel and Randle, however both will require touches down low as they look to set themselves up for a shot at the NBA lottery. The Noel, Randle duo does however have the potential to not only work, but also dominate, due to Randle’s ability as a perimeter scorer.
Estimating Randle’s statistical output at this point is difficult, mainly due to the number of fresh faces that will feature on Kentucky’s roster next season, however it is entirely possible Randle has as big, or even bigger, of an impact as Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant had as big men scorers at the collegiate level in recent seasons.
Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.