Randle declares for the NBA draft


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) After one season in a Kentucky uniform, Julius Randle announced Tuesday that he will be leaving UK for the NBA.

Randle said he was blessed to be in this situation and had put in a lot of prayer to help him with his decision. He thanked the Kentucky fans and coaching staff for all they did during his freshman season.

In his freshman season, Randle averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game while helping the Wildcats advance to the national championship game, where they lost to Connecticut. Randle recorded 24 double-doubles, which is a record for UK freshmen.

The 6-foot-9 forward is expected to be a top 5 pick in the NBA draft.

Here's some quotes from the athlete today's conference:

“I’ve been blessed and fortunate to be put in the position to have decisions. Big decision for me is whether to declare for the NBA draft or not. (After) talking with my family, a lot of prayer I’m deciding to declare for the NBA draft. I’m a man of faith. A lot of prayer has gone into this situation, talking with my mom, my sister, the things they’ve done for me. I come from a really good background. Jeff and Thrya Webster over there, my godparents, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me. Mr. Troutt and Mrs. Troutt, Kenny and Lisa, they’ve been there for me. I started with the best program with Coach Scott (Pospichal) since fifth grade. That was kind of my foundation."

“To all the Kentucky fans, I really want to thank you all for what you all have done for me this year. I’ve had the best coaching staff in the country. They spent countless hours working with me, night in and night out, in the gym, preparing me to take this step. Also, my former high school, my former school, Prestonwood Christian Academy, they’ve been huge for me, just not as school and basketball but for my faith as well. I can’t thank them for having my back throughout this year and for everything, I can’t thank them enough. Like I said, I’m declaring for the 2014 NBA draft, and I’m pretty excited about it.”

On why not come back to chase that title …

“This more was about me personally. Everybody’s dream, goal is to win a national championship. Like I said, we came one game short, but this decision was about me personally, what I felt was best for me to grow on and off the court. And also, like I said, there’s no better time for me to achieve my dream than now.”

On how good UK could be next year with some guys returning …

“Our team next year? They’ll be amazing. I mean, we have so much talent. Willie (Cauley-Stein) coming back. We have Marcus (Lee). He was huge in the tournament. All the incoming guys. We have so much talent coming in next year. We’re definitely going to make another run. This team is definitely going to be deep next year, depending on who comes back. And you know Coach Cal is always going to do a great job of developing players.”

On how much the guys making NBA decisions talked to each other …

“A little bit, but this wasn’t about — it was just about… each individual player personally, and what he thought was best for his future. Any decision any player made, we were gonna have their back 100 percent, and that’s the biggest thing. We became brothers throughout the year, and if it was time for somebody to leave or not, if they’re staying, we’re gonna have their back 100 percent, because we know they’re doing the best thing for them. You can’t go wrong with either decision.”

On how this year prepared him for the next level …

“It just prepared me to learn how to deal with situations. Each day you have to take things a day at a time. You’re definitely gonna face adversity in your life, whether it’s basketball or not, so just facing this being basketball-related and all the doubt that you may have and the criticism, it just taught me how to deal with things and I can apply (that) to life as well.”

On what advice he would give to next year’s team …

“Well me personally, I never—I think that’s why I was able deal with the criticism myself, because I never really fed into or really read anything or believed anything. I just tried to stay in my own little circle or little bubble and focused on the team and that’s all I really cared about. As long as you’re invested into the team and that’s your total focus, investing into being a student-athlete, then you really won’t waiver too much from the criticism or expectations.”

On what he learned from the NCAA Tournament run …

“It changed my game a lot. I didn’t have to worry about doing anything crazy or going out there and trying to score a lot of points or anything like that because we just had so much talent that, I mean, that’s the way it should have been. I wasn’t too much worried about it. Less is more. We saw what he did with Andrew (Harrison) and how it worked. I had all the faith in coach. That’s why I came here, because I trusted his advice and, you know, less is more. That’s how I was able to contribute to the run late in the season.”

On what advice Coach Cal gave him …

“As far as?” (Deciding which way to go …) “He just—he gave me all the information — what NBA teams are seeing, the feedback he’s got — and I just took that information and talked with my family about it. He told me that he felt like I was ready. It was up to me whether I wanted to come back or not. He was my biggest supporter—or he was a big supporter for me throughout this process. He put me in a position to be able to declare and I’m happy for that opportunity.”

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus