Julius Randle Will Enter 2014 NBA Draft

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 9, 2014

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Updates from Tuesday, April 22

Julius Randle announced his decision to enter the NBA draft Tuesday, according to Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio:

Updates from Monday, April 21

Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated confirms Julius Randle will hold a press conference Tuesday to discuss his future:

Original Text

Kentucky star Julius Randle reportedly will declare for the 2014 NBA draft, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, via SportsCenter's Twitter feed:

After the report came out, however, Randle was quick to deny it:

The Wildcats freshman averaged a double-double (15 points, 10.4 rebounds) and shot 50 percent from the field in 2013-14 while leading the SEC powerhouse to the 2014 NCAA championship game, where it lost to Connecticut.

Despite question marks surrounding his defensive prowess, Randle projects to be one of the first players chosen this summer. At 6'9" and 250 pounds, the athletic power forward has an NBA-ready body and an intriguing skill set that has made him a popular player among NBA scouts and general managers.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman breaks down what makes Randle so special:

He was a 19-year-old man among boys throughout his freshman season, as he racked up a nation-leading 24 double-doubles. Offensively, we've seen him bully defenders with his back to the rim and blow by his men facing up.

In addition to his on-court talents, his motor is impossible to miss and sets him apart from the other power forwards in this year's draft class.

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy had high praise for Randle after he was named the SEC Freshman of the Year this past season, telling reporters:

I was looking at some of the other leagues and he could have been freshman of the year I think in any of the leagues, in my opinion. He's dominating. Julius Randle understands sense of urgency. He's wired that way and that's what makes him a special player.

There's little risk of Randle failing to maximize on his talent given his tremendous drive, but the question is whether he can be effective night in and night out against NBA big men at such a young age.

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes to the basket as Amida Brimah #35 and Lasan Kromah #20 of the Connecticut Huskies defend during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington,
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There's no denying Randle's ability and potential to shine at the next level, and his impact may very well depend on when he is drafted.

Assuming he is selected by a team like the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, he will likely see a heavy workload from the opening tip.


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