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By LARRY VAUGHT
Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy thinks Kentucky freshman Julius Randle is an “immense talent” and will be UK’s most important player this year.
“I remember 2008 when Chris Douglas-Roberts was an All-American at Memphis for John (Calipari), but in the end Derrick Rose was the most important player because he was the greatest talent. The team’s success was rooted in whether Rose could enforce that talent, and he did. Whether or not UK wins the title this year could come down to how great Julius is and is able to become in his year at Kentucky,” DeCourcy said.
“I think it starts with size and athleticism. His is a very rare combination of those two qualities. He is 6-10, long, physically powerful, extremely mobile and skilled. He is as good a package as you can find. He is not LeBron James, who is best example of what a player’s body could be. But he is in the top five percent of all basketball payers across world when you look at him and see what he brings to the table. It is extraordinary. And he brings confidence and energy,” DeCourcy said.
“I don’t know whether he has the personality Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had. Very few have, or will ever have, what he did but what Julius has is the ability to take over a game. It is easier to take a power forward than a point guard out of the game. If you double him on the block, he can take you outside. If you play him for his shot, he can bounce past you. If leave him open, he can make a shot. There are a lot of ways he can beat you.
“Defensively, he is a great presence. He will have to learn to play team defense, but with the great qualities he has he will be a terrific defensive player and also a very good offensive and defensive rebounder.”