It’s time to say goodbye to Julius Randle. Earlier today, Randle announced he will enter the draft, hardly a surprise given that he’s a top five prospect. Randle came to UK as the most heralded of a highly touted freshmen class, and lived up to all of our lofty expectations. Before we break out the Sarah McLachlan tape, let’s look back at some of the best moments from Julius’ career at Kentucky…
The second half of the Michigan State game
The Champions Classic was billed as the nation’s first look at three highly-touted freshmen: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle. Randle struggled in the first half against Michigan State, but stormed out in the second, leading a Kentucky comeback that came up just short. Randle was dominant, scoring 23 of his 27 points in the second half to go along with 13 rebounds. He fought off double teams and showed that when he’s on–really on–he’s unstoppable.
The first half against Louisville (and I guess the cramps)
On today’s show, Ryan Lemond said he’ll remember Julius Randle most for his cramps during the Louisville game. I’d argue that Randle’s 17 points during the first half of that game were much more memorable. Randle manhandled (or manRANDLEd?? Eh???) Chane Behanan and Montrezl Harrell in the paint before the cramps sidelined him.
It’s okay, Ryan. I will say that because of Randle, I learned more about cramp remedies this season than in any of my twenty-nine years of being a woman.
The game winner against LSU
In terms of big game moments, this is at the top for me. Down to LSU by one with eleven seconds left in overtime, Andrew Harrison kicked it out to James Young on the perimeter, who drove the lane and slipped, the ball flying loose. Julius scooped it up and in to the basket with 3.9 seconds left, giving the Cats the win. Randle had only eight points in the game, but the last two mattered the most.
The spin move
As much as we love Julius, that spin move had everyone in the Bluegrass groaning by March. Julius’ spin move worked wonders against high school competition, but after a few games, everyone had it figured out. However, in small doses and against the right matchups, it can be deadly, as we learned during the Wichita State game.
The putback dunk against Wichita State
After Cleanthony Early hit yet another three to put Wichita State up by nine at the start of the second half, things didn’t look good for the Kentucky. However, in what became their trademark, the Cats clawed back, led by Julius Randle. In one of those moves that only he could pull off, Julius grabbed the rebound off James Young’s missed jumper and slammed it in one-handed. That sparked a 10-0 run by the Cats, and eventually, the win. It’s only fitting that for Julius and this team, a rebound started it all.
All of his faces
I couldn’t pick just one, but Cal did:
The assist to Aaron Harrison against Louisville
A common refrain this season was “PASS THE BALL, JULIUS!,” so I thought it fitting to include the one pass that was above all the rest. With under a minute left against Louisville, Randle spun into the paint only to be faced by five defenders, so he passed the ball out to Aaron Harrison, who was wide open on the perimeter. The rest is sweet, Cardinal-beating history.
What’s your favorite Julius Randle memory?