Kentucky Wildcats freshman phenom Julius Randle has been a double-double machine in the early portion of the 2013-14 season.
Whether he makes the leap to the NBA after one year or surprises many and remains in college, Randle's steadiness in both his production and effort will allow him to continue fulfilling his huge potential.
Randle put together yet another stellar performance in Kentucky's 70-55 victory over Boise State on Dec. 10 at Rupp Arena, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and pulling down 11 rebounds.
In only two games this season has Randle not put up a double-double, as he has manhandled his competition in the post with an array of impressive and efficient moves. He displays excellent leverage and fundamentals as a rebounder, and he continues to be a fixture in the paint for the No. 11 Wildcats (AP).
While there is still plenty of room for him to enhance his perimeter game, Randle has been a strong example for the rest of his precocious teammates.
With an 8-2 record at this early juncture, Kentucky is going through some growing pains, as their loaded rotation establishes a chemistry that it hopes will morph into a national title-contending juggernaut.
Fellow first-year studs Andrew Harrison and James Young entered the Boise State game shooting under 40 percent, but Randle actually improved upon his season shooting numbers, which were already north of 50 percent.
Although there is a team-wide concern over the Wildcats' problems with turnovers—they coughed it up 19 times against the Broncos—one element they can control is effort.
In that regard, Randle is a tone-setter with his relentless motor and hustle on the glass. That type of competitiveness has been a constant, and it's translated into stellar statistics for Randle.
However, he did commit four turnovers of his own in the Boise State game, and has had at least two turnovers in every contest to date.
Afterwards, Randle did acknowledge he still has to pick up his game but did feel that the Wildcats took a step forward in limiting Boise State's explosive offense to a meager 55 points:
Head coach John Calipari is molding these sensational youngsters, and Randle seems to have a handle on the fact that this development period is a rigorous process that will pay dividends down the road.
As long as he comes to work and improves every day, the sky is the limit for the freshman.
The fact that he's putting up exceptional numbers at such a consistent rate and still has immense upside is a likely indicator that Randle will be an even greater force on the hardwood for the remainder of his time at Kentucky—and beyond.
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