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Apples to NBA Players


Rave reviews have been coming in all summer about Kentucky’s highest-rated recruit, Julius Randle. Former Wildcat Kenny Walker has even stated that Randle is the most talented person to come to UK since the almost-former Wildcat Shawn Kemp. Considering all of the players who have been at Kentucky in the past 25 years (not to mention the most decorated freshman in college basketball history dawning the blue and white a mere two seasons ago), Walker’s claims should make every UK fan giddy. So, we all know Julius Randle will be good. A question that can actually be debated: what kind of good will he be? A number of comparisons have been made between Julius and other NBA players. Using the analytical tool of choice for us anxious UK fans (Youtube highlights), I’ve reviewed some of the players that Randle has been compared to and made some observations. We’ll start with the footage of Julius himself:

Julius Randle


The thing that stands out most to me in Julius’s highlight reel is his ability to powerfully drive to the basket. Power Forwards aren’t typically known for their slashing capabilities, but Julius is flat-out dominant when he’s heading towards the rim. He often gets there from the perimeter in one to two dribbles, and his spin move is very impressive. Some other aspects of his game that are evident in this video are his crazy athleticism (see all of the dunks and blocks) and a decent pull-up jumper.

Lebron James

It seems like the trump card for every physically-gifted player who can handle the ball these days, but Julius is sometimes compared to Lebron with his combination of size and finesse. While the comparison isn’t horrible, I feel like it is less-fitting than some of the others. Lebron appears to be a much better ball-handler and passer than Julius, which makes sense given that he is primarily a Small Forward. His stroke also seems to be a lot sweeter than Julius’s at the moment. However, the two do share certain traits. Lebron’s physique and ability to drive to the basket are the most alike.

Chris Webber lists Chris Webber as Julius’s NBA comparison, and based on this highlight footage, it’s with good reason. Webber’s ability to face-up, then power to the basket in a few dribbles looks very similar to Julius’s. He also seems to have a comparable mid-range game. Based on this video, it looks like Webber might have a better back-to-the-basket game than Randle. He also appears to be a bit smaller, and perhaps a tad less athletic than Julius.

Charles Barkley



I’ve seen this comparison on a few message boards. After watching this highlight video, I’d have to say it’s my personal favorite. While Chuck was about 4-6 inches shorter than Julius, their overall games look very similar. Barkley’s ability to drive to the basket almost mirrors Randle’s; pay special attention to the spin moves and the finishes after contact. They also dunk the ball with an equal power, and both show an ability to lead the fast break. Barkley appears to be a little more athletic than Randle, but that makes sense given the height difference. Overall, I love this comparison, and will be very happy if Julius plays in a similar fashion at the collegiate level.

Of course, a 10-minute highlight reel isn’t indicative of a player’s total ability (notice the lack of defensive plays). But based on this quick analysis, I feel Charles Barkley is the best-fitting comparison of the three.

Got another comparison? Feel free to leave it in the comments.


Article written by Caleb Epley

Vanderbilt student, Kentucky fan. Skilled at using big words and telling bad jokes. Twitter: @CalebEpleyKSR