BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kentucky forward Julius Randle was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches on Tuesday, leading a number of honors for the Wildcats for their play during the 2013-14 season. Randle was tabbed to the All-SEC First Team, while classmate James Young earned second team honors. Both players were also selected to the All-SEC Freshman team. Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein earned All-SEC Defensive team accolades.
Randle is the fifth consecutive Wildcat to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors. He joins DeMarcus Cousins, Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel as the other winners. UK’s Patrick Patterson was the first Wildcat to win the award in 2008.
The Dallas native finished the regular season leading the squad in points per game (15.4) and rebounds per game (10.5). He’s the first player since Davis to finish the season averaging a double-double. No UK player had averaged a double-double since Kenny Walker turned the trick during the 1984-85 season.
Randle posted 324 rebounds on the season, ranks fourth in the freshman record books and 22nd for any player in a single season in school history. Following 31 games, Randle has amassed 19 more boards than Davis, the freshman record holder for rebounds in a season, through the same number of games.
Young collected All-SEC second-team and All-SEC Freshman team honors after logging 23 double-figure scoring efforts on the season. He led the team with seven 20-point scoring efforts during the regular season.
The Rochester Hills, Mich., native knocked down a squad-best 67 3-pointers, the fourth most in program history for a first-year player. He needs just one more long ball to move into second place. He averaged a team-high 33.4 minutes per game against SEC foes and UK outscored its opponents by an average of six points when he was on the floor, which also ranked as a team-high mark.
Cauley-Stein earned All-SEC Defensive team accolades and is the sixth player in the last five seasons to earn the distinction. The 7-foot center accounted for 88 blocks on the season which is the third-most in a single season in UK history. That total also ranks in the top 20 nationally for the year.
The Olathe, Kan., native had perhaps the most stunning defensive performance in Kentucky’s win over Georgia. He posted six blocks and six steals in the same contest to become the first player in school history to achieve that feat.