While it has been considered a virtual lock for weeks and months, Kentucky power forward Julius Randle had stopped short of formally declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft, even as the calendar shifted into late April. On Tuesday afternoon, however, he made the announcement that everyone expected by jumping to the NBA.
Julius Randle has announced he is heading to the NBA. Count me as shocked.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 22, 2014
Randle was one of the best players in college basketball this season, averaging 15 points per game on 50% shooting to go along with 10.4 rebounds per game in less than 31 minutes per contest. In addition, he is currently ranked as the number 5 overall player for ESPN’s Chad Ford, and the general consensus among NBA people is that Randle is the top-ranked “pure” power forward in the 2014 Draft class.
To be honest, no one thought Randle would actually come back to school, but because he lacks the perceived upside of players like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, he hasn’t garnered quite the same level of hype as some of his less productive counterparts from the college level. Still, Randle is a mortal lock for the top-10 in this year’s Draft, and when that is the case, it is rare to see a player stay in school.