When Julius Randle and Jarnell Stokes body up in the paint tomorrow in Rupp Arena, it won’t mark the first time they’ve met on the basketball court. Randle and Stokes were teammates on the USA Men’s U18 National Team in 2012 and saw plenty of each other in the training sessions and practices before traveling to Brazil for the FIBA Americas U18 Championships.
Randle, the youngest member of that team, led the USA in scoring and rebounds with 14.9 and 6.6 per game. Stokes, the oldest player on the team, was a close second with 14 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. They started all five games together down low for USA in Brazil, alongside Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Syracuse’s Jerami Grant, and North Carolina freshman guard Nate Britt.
Oh yeah, Randle and Stokes were roommates that summer, too.