Kentucky forward Julius Randle declares for NBA draft

Kentucky forward Julius Randle has declared for the NBA draft.

"I've been blessed and fortunate to be put in a position to have to have decisions. A big decision for me is whether to declare for the NBA draft or not," Randle said in a press conference on Tuesday. "Talking with my family, a lot of prayer, I'm deciding to declare for the NBA draft."

Randle, 19, is a physical power forward who helped the Wildcats advance to the NCAA finals, where they ultimately fell to the Connecticut Huskies.

"I've had the best coaching staff in the country, that spent countless hours working with me night in and night out in the gym," Randle said of Coach John Calipari and his staff. "My one year here was fantastic."

In 40 games for the Wildcats, the 6-foot-9 lefty averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds a game while shooting 50% from the field.

The Lakers head into the May 20 draft lottery in sixth position, with a 6.3% chance to climb to the top pick, 7.1% to second and 8.1% to third.  The team only has 43.9% odds of picking sixth but also 30.5% of falling to seventh, 4.0% to eighth and 0.1% to ninth.

Randle may be off the board if the Lakers pick sixth.

"The next level will be a challenge," Randle said. "I'm pretty sure when we start the combine, and the workouts with the individual teams, I'll have a better feeling of where I'll go.  But I was confident enough to enter the NBA draft."

Randle has yet to hire an agent.

Other top-10 draft prospects include Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Duke's Jabari Parker, Arizona's Aaron Gordon, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Indiana's Noah Vonleh, Australia's Dante Exum, Syracuse's Tyler Ennis, Creighton's Doug McDermott and Croatia's Dario Saric.

The NBA draft will be held on June 26.


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