LEXINGTON – Thanks to a late tip-in from Julius Randle, Kentucky heads into March Madness with questions about their chances of cutting down the nets.
The frosh phenom has been a double-double machine for the Wildcats all season and thanks to his late-game heroics against unranked LSU, he carry Kentucky to their ninth national championship.
The question is will he?
At 6’9 and 250 pounds, the 19-year-old Randle is the most offensively gifted power forward in college basketball, but he will have to take his game to the next level in March. The supporting cast for Kentucky has underperformed all season; the Harrison twins aren’t even placed in most NBA Draft Lottery mocks.
Even the Wildcats second best player, James Young, has been up and down throughout SEC play.
The Wildcats remaining schedule (Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, and #2 Florida) is pretty light until their regular season finale showdown against the Florida Gators. If Randle can put up big numbers against the powerhouse Gators, then the Wildcats could really make a deep run to the National Championship.
This writer can’t wait to see the matchup between Randle vs. Young in Gainesville in March, as it promises to be a memorable one.
So sitting here in late February, we wonder if this team of Wildcats could resemble of the team two years ago that was anchored by NBA All-Star Anthony Davis. I’m not saying Randle is on the same planet basketball wise as Davis, but he has the skillset that inserts fear into opposing teams in the upcoming tournament.
Many people have wondered if Randle will stay in Lexington for his sophomore year if the Wildcats fail to win the National Championship. I think Randle is heading for the NBA no matter what happens with the Wildcats during the postseason. His game could use another year of tailoring and development , but hey money calls (ask Marcus Smart if he should’ve return to school for a second season).
Looking back at high school tape from Randle and you can clearly see that he has a perimeter game that is not very visible in Kentucky. John Calipari may want to add that aspect of Randle’s game into the Wildcats offense during the tournament, which can only improve Kentucky’s chances of winning.