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Julius Randle Declares for NBA Draft




April 22, 2014

Kentucky Men’s Basketball
Julius Randle NBA Press Conference
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Memorial Coliseum Media Room  –  Lexington, Ky.


Julius Randle

Opening statement  …
“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 if there was a point where he thought about coming back …
“Yeah. I did. It was just — you know this season, this year, the more I think about it, it just went by fast. I’m definitely going to miss it. Kentucky will always have a special place in my heart. Growing up as a kid, it’s always been my dream to play in the NBA, and there’s no better opportunity for me to achieve that goal than now.”

On what the incentives to come back were …
“I came here to win a national championship. I came here to grow up and mature on and off the court, and I did that. I know I came one game short of winning a national championship – we did as a team – but everything we went through this year is just an experience that I’ll never forget. That alone was enough, kept me at peace to leave.”

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 his one year at UK and if anything surprised him …
“I would say my one year here was fantastic because Coach Cal goes into your home when he recruits you and he says, ‘It’s going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’re going to work the hardest you ever did.’ You say OK, but you may not believe it. But once you’re in the fire, what he said is true. And I think that’s really grown me as a person more than even as a basketball player, I think you can say, because I learned how to deal with things and I can apply it to life as well.”
On how much he looks forward to getting defended one-on-one in the NBA vs. double- and triple-teams here …

“(Laughing) Uh, it’ll be nice. It’ll be nice. If that’s what happens. The next level is going to be a challenge, but hopefully that happens.”

On what NBA feedback he got …
“A lot of positive feedback. Enough positive feedback for me to decide that I wanted to enter the NBA draft.”

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 what he’s heard about where he might go in the draft …
“I mean, I’m not sure. I’m blessed to be in a position to be able to have a chance to get drafted, and I’m pretty sure when we start the combine and the workouts with individual teams I’ll have a better feeling of where I’ll go. But I was confident enough to enter the draft.”

On if he’s picked an agent …
“I haven’t, but I’ve talked to my family about it, and we’re gonna continue to pray about it and go through the right process and I’ll come to a conclusion on what agent I want.”

On if the postseason run gave him any more peace about making the decision …
“It was, like I said, an experience I’ll never forget. Just all the adversity that we went through all year, and to finally have the opportunity to play for a national championship and to see how we came together during a postseason run, it’s just something I’ll never forget. And like I said, it’ll always — I’ll grow old one day and I’ll be able to tell my children or grandchildren about something that I did when I was 19 years old. It’ll always be a memory for me.”

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 how old he was when he started thinking about the NBA …
“I don’t know an exact age, but probably when I started playing basketball, three or four years old. I grew up watching guys, grew up watching the NBA Playoffs and stuff like that and it’s just always where I wanted to be.”

On how his game will change at the next level after he played in the post mostly in college …
“I’m not really sure. I wouldn’t necessarily say that. Coach Cal did a great job of using me in many different ways. It just happened that posting up and a low-post player, that was one of my strengths here and everybody had to sacrifice. Everybody had their role and once we bought into the role and believed in the role I think that’s why we made the postseason run and we just believed in each other and our role that coach had for us.”

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 stands out in his mind about things he did this season …
“Just how we overcame things. We went through a lot personally and as a team. We took a lot of things – some of it was fair and some of it wasn’t fair – but at the end of the day, it never shook us. We always stayed together and it just lets you know about each individual on the team, how tough-minded they are. A lot of days I don’t go into practice or go into a game feeling well, but I look at those guys and I know that they’ve been through everything I’ve been through and just kind of gives you motivation to push through the day.”

On if he’s talked with Andrew or Aaron Harrison at all and where their heads are right now …
“I can’t really speak for them. I haven’t given them any advice or anything like that. If I’m talking to anybody it’s just because I’m trying to see how they’re doing or we’re just talking about normal teenage things or whatever. I’m pretty sure they’ll make the best decision for them, but as far as where they’ll go or whether they’ll declare or not, I can’t speak on that.”

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.”

Kentucky Interactive CoachCal.com