Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft
Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle is entering the NBA draft and many project him as a top-five selection.
The Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky forward Julius Randle took a lot of time and talked to a lot of people before deciding to leave after one season for the NBA draft, where many analysts have projected him as a top-five selection.
Several days before the deadline for underclassmen to declare, the 6-foot-9 Dallas native announced the decision many expected even before he arrived as part of what was considered Kentucky’s best recruiting class.
Projected as a lottery pick from the outset, Randle solidified his draft stock by leading Kentucky (29-11) to the NCAA title game — won by Connecticut — behind a string of double-doubles despite often being double- and triple-teamed.
Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds. With Tuesday’s announcement, he joins guard James Young, who said last week he would enter the June 26 draft.
“Kentucky will always have a special place in my heart, but growing up as a kid, there’s always been my dream to play in the NBA, and there’s no better opportunity for me to achieve that goal than now,” Randle said at a news conference attended by his mother, Carolyn Kyles, and some teammates.
Randle’s steady low-post play led to positive feedback from league executives about his NBA potential. After spending the past couple of weeks talking with his family, Kentucky coach John Calipari — who didn’t attend the news conference — teammates and others, Randle made the decision many expected.
“It wasn’t something that we said we were going to do overnight,” Kyles said of the decision-making process. “We prayed about it and talked about it for a while and decided this is the best decision for him. ...
“It was important to know their feedback, if they thought he was ready to go out there and contribute to a team. The positive feedback, there was enough of it coming from Coach Cal that we felt this was the right thing to do.”
• Clemson forward K.J. McDaniels will forgo his senior season to enter the draft. The 6-6 McDaniels averaged 17.1 points last season and was voted Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year.
• Center Isaiah Austin is entering the NBA draft after two seasons at Baylor. The 7-1 Austin, who has a prosthetic right eye, averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his college career.
• Donnie Tyndall, who was 56-17 in two seasons at Southern Mississippi, is Tennessee’s new coach. Tyndall, 43, replaces Cuonzo Martin, who was hired as California’s coach last week.
Tyndall agreed to a six-year contract worth $1.6 million per year. Shortly after Martin left, Tyndall got a text message from his 11-year-old daughter, Grace Elizabeth. Her note, in all capital letters, said “THE TENNESSEE JOB IS OPEN. HINT, HINT.”
• University of Illinois police say sophomore forward Darius Paul, 20, faces preliminary charges of resisting a peace officer and unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor. Campus police said Paul, who was walking, started to run after the second time an officer asked him to stop.