UK Basketball: Competition is why Julius Randle picked Kentucky
Kentucky recruit Julius Randle (30) said competition may be so fierce in UK¿s practices next season there may be fights, and he¿s fine with that. (AP Photo / April 3, 2013)
“I think everybody who chose Kentucky knew they were going to have to go there and compete. That’s what was most appealing to me. I knew every day in practice I was going to have to get better,” said Randle, one of six future Cats that played in Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game here.
Randle was 5-for-9 from the field and had 11 points, seven rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes in the all-star game. He’ll join future Cats Dakari Johnson, James Young, Aaron Harrison, Marcus Lee and Andrew Harrison at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn next week.
Kentucky’s 2013-14 roster will be loaded with NBA draft prospects with the return of Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer from this year.
“I want to get better before I hit the next level,” Randle, one of the nation’s top three rated prep players, said. “I want to make sure I’m prepared, and those practices will probably be like NBA practices at Kentucky every day.”
Randle shared these other thoughts about UK, Andrew Wiggins, his play and more:
Question: Could next year’s UK team be so competitive in practice that there might even be fights among teammates?
Randle: “I am perfectly fine with that. Everybody is a competitor. If that results in fighting, then come on and let’s go. I think that could happen.”
Question: Could that be a good thing?
Randle: “Yeah. We are not fighting because we hate each other. We are fighting because we hate to lose. If you are fighting because you hate to lose, then you are in a pretty good position.”
Question: Did you agree with future teammates saying you are the most competitive of the incoming freshmen at UK?
Randle: “I think I am pretty competitive. I know those two guys from Houston (Aaron and Andrew Harrison) are pretty competitive, too.”
Question: How well did you know your future teammates before the McDonald’s All-American Game?
Randle: “I knew the twins the most because I have been playing against them since I was 9 or 10 years old. I have known them and how they have to lose and know their competitiveness. I kind of met those other guys in high school because of AAU basketball.”
Question: What will the competition for playing time in practice be like at Kentucky?
Randle: “I am looking forward to the practice and competing. It will kind of be like NBA practice because all those guys have aspirations of playing in the NBA and will have a good chance of playing in the NBA. I am just really looking forward to the competition and being able to fight ... everything is going to be so competitive from scrimmages to games and all that stuff. It is going to be a good feeling.”
Question: What was your college selection process like and can you sympathize with what Andrew Wiggins is going through as he debates making a college choice?
Randle: “I can’t speak for Andrew, but for me it was amazing feeling to have this process over with. It’s tough. The phone calls. Everything. Twitter. Just all that stuff. People trying to tell you where to go. My family, my mom, they did a good job keeping me humble and focused on school and getting better in basketball. They made the process a lot easier for me.”
Question: Was it harder since you were injured and missed most of the basketball season?