Kentucky freshman Julius Randle announced today that he’s entering the draft this year, in a press conference with the school. He’s the final member of a group generally regarded as the top five prospects for this year’s draft to declare, joining Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum, as our list of early entrants shows. Randle is No. 4 in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings, and No. 5 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
The power forward averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for a loaded Kentucky team that made it to the NCAA championship game. He was second only to Wiggins on Givony’s rankings heading into the season, but he wasn’t quite as dominant as hoped and he struggled with consistency, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors wrote when he covered Randle for our Prospect Profile series. He had just 10 points and six rebounds in the title game loss to Connecticut.
Randle is 6’9″ with a 6’11” wingspan, limiting his defensive impact. He blocked just 0.8 shots per game and came away with 0.5 steals per contest. Still, his elite rebounding numbers and wide body suggest he’ll be tough to keep off the boards as a pro, and his scoring on a Kentucky team with plenty of other offensive options bodes well for him, too.
Randle joins James Young among Wildcats declaring for the draft this year, with the status of sophomore Alex Poythress and freshmen Dakari Johnson, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison up in the air. Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman Marcus Lee have decided to return to Kentucky.