Kentucky’s star freshman (or perhaps more accurately, the crown jewel of many star freshmen for the Wildcats) Julius Randle has already become a fan favorite across college basketball. Fans love his physical presence and will to take over games even after witnessing only a handful of his performances at the collegiate level. Through his first three games, Randle is averaging 24 points and 14 rebounds, including a monster performance (27 points, 13 rebounds) in a loss against No. 2 Michigan State.
Randle has been compared to LeBron James and Chris Webber by analysts, which of course helps to fuel the hype even more and places enormous expectations on the freshman. Rick Pitino is now heaping praise on him as well — perhaps a little bit of ego boosting before Randle plays the Cardinals in December?
“Julius Randle is as good a basketball player as I’ve seen come along in a long, long time.” – Rick Pitino to ESPN
— Thomas Beisner (@thomasbeisner) November 15, 2013
It will be great seeing some of the top college prospects this year fight to be the first player selected in the 2014 NBA Draft — currently Randle, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jabari Parker, and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart are believed to be the guys competing for the honor. Pitino, who has obviously been around the game for quite a while, clearly believes that Randle is up there with all of them, and many greats from years past as well — that’s not a terrible endorsement.