Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle declared for the NBA Draft on April 22.
Kentucky Wildcats freshman forward Julius Randle has declared for the NBA draft.
This was confirmed by an ESPN update on April 22:
"Forward Julius Randle will leave Kentucky after one season to enter the NBA draft, where he is expected to be among the top five selections.
"With five days left before the deadline of underclassmen to declare, the 6-foot-9 Dallas native announced the decision many expected even before he arrived as part of Kentucky's best-ever recruiting class.
"Projected as a lottery pick from the outset, Randle solidified his draft stock by leading Kentucky (29-11) to the NCAA final behind a string of double-doubles despite being double- and triple-teamed."
During his press conference's opening statement (via UKAthletics.com), Randle said he consulted with is family before making the big decision to make the jump to the pros.
"I've been blessed and fortunate to be put in the position to have decisions. Big decision for me is whether to declare for the NBA draft or not. (After) talking with my family, a lot of prayer I'm deciding to declare for the NBA draft.
"I'm a man of faith. A lot of prayer has gone into this situation, talking with my mom, my sister, the things they've done for me. I come from a really good background.
"To all the Kentucky fans, I really want to thank you all for what you have done for me this year. I've had the best coaching staff in the country. They spent countless hours working with me, night in and night out, in the gym, preparing me to take this step."
Randle said even though the Wildcats were primed to make another title run next season, he felt now is the time to achieve his dream.
He also added he's heard a lot of positive feedback about his game which encouarged him to forego his remaining years of eligibility at Kentucky, per the same update.
"This was more about me personally. Everybody's dream, goal is to win a national championship. Like I said, we came one game short, but this decision was about me personally, what I felt was best for me to grow on and off the court.
"And also, like I said, there's no better time for me to achieve my dream than now.
"A lot of positive feedback. Enough positive feedback for me to decide that I wanted to enter the NBA draft."
With this, The Louisville Courier-Journal's (via USA Today) Kyle Tucker asked ESPN's Chad Ford last week about the prospect of turning pro.
"He's NBA-ready, and he's going to be a top-seven pick in this draft. When you look at the motor that he has and the NBA body that he has and his ability to rebound, those are the attributes that NBA GMs salivate over.
"Could he improve his game with another year at Kentucky? Sure. But I think he's one of the two or three most NBA-ready players in the draft."
Wildcats head mens' basketball coach John Calipari agrees with Ford's assessment in his April 22 tweet. He wrote,"It truly believe that @J30_RANDLE will be an even better pro than a college player. He was Shaq'd all year -- in every way."
For his part, Jerry Tipton of The Lexington Herald-Leader asked Randle's mother, Carolyn Kyles, on his readiness to deal with the NBA lifestyle and whether she would move with him to whatever NBA city he will play for.
Kyles said,"He's always been a very mature young man...I would love to do that, but I think I have to let him grow up."
Tipton adds Randle and his teammate James Young become the 11th and 12th "one-and-done" players under the Calipari regime since 2009.
The two join the likes of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Archie Goodwin and Nerlens Noel.
In his lone season at Kentucky, Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds, per ESPN.
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