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Tom Izzo on Julius Randle: “He gritted his teeth, was ornery and nasty”


Just how good did Michigan State coach Tom Izzo think Julius Randle was Tuesday in Chicago?

“He just – I give him a lot of credit. We did a heck of a  job the first half; we really did on him, too. We game-planned it just like we wanted to. Se kept him out of the paint, did some things,” Izzo said. “John (Calipari) made a couple nice adjustments at the end of the half, started spreading it, started opening up a little bit more, and then they started going in to him.

“We said they were going to at halftime. But we didn’t double – we haven’t had that much trouble over the years. Then we sometimes double on the dribble. With him, I would’ve doubled when he came onto the half court; forget where the ball is. That’s how we should’ve guarded him.

“But we had some bizarre guys guarding him, too, at times. So I think Randle – what I loved about him: he gritted his teeth, was ornery and nasty, and he wanted to put them on his shoulders. And for a freshman, that speaks volumes. Nobody else did that. He completely did that. You could hear him talking. You could see it in his face. You could see it in his body language. Tough kid. Like him. Love him.”

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    Julius Randle has: The Points and Rebounds of Dan Issel, (His Junior Year)…The Moves, Quickness and Shooting Skill of Jamal Mashburn…And, The Strength of James Lee ! BBN Loves Him Also…

    1. UKFMLY


      Did you just call him “Ole School”. Those are three of my favorite players. Never saw Issel in the Blue and White but loved him in the old ABA as a young man.



      1. Larry T Clemons

        Do you agree….I saw Issel on TV Play for UK, when I was little and his play was so similar, even with two or three guys around him, he put it in the whole…Randle’s numbers blow Issel’s Sophomore #s out of the water…. Mash & Lee are apparent as I previously mentioned…

        1. UKFMLY

          YES I AGREE

  2. LindaS

    I saw Issel play at UK and in the ABA including the night the Colonels won the championship, I was sitting in the wives box a guest of Ron Thomas’ wife…eat your hearts out boys! Randle reminds me more of Mash. Also met Issel a couple times after the ABA, very, very nice man.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      No doubt Mashburn Skill set, And James Lee’s strength…..but Randle’s points & rebounds and strong post play are Issel as a Junior at UK….I Love Freedom Hall and the Kentucky Colonels. Great way for a Louisville Boy to see his(my) University Of Kentucky Idols…..w/Artis Gilmore for extra measure. Hard to compare Randle to just one UK Player…

      1. Jon

        I loved watching the Kentucky Colonels at Freedom Hall. Always played with the ABA ball at church and the playgrounds. You could see how well you released the shot because you could see the backspin so well. I had the pleasure of cooking a steak now and then for Mr. Gilmore when he ate where I worked.
        Watching Randle against MSU, I told my wife that he reminded me of Jamal. It’s going to be a fun season. 12/28 will be a game to see.

  3. King Ghidora

    I think Mash was more of a shooter than Randle but both could score. I think Randle is better at banging inside and getting his shot up. Mash was very good and very strong but I think Randle would be much better if he stayed at UK as long as Mash did. He’s incredible IMO. He may be the best player UK has ever had. That’s not something I say often either. There’s just no way to stop him. He can score inside or outside. You just hope he has a bad night is how you play him because if he’s on there ain’t a thing you can do about it. He reminds me of Sean Kemp in terms of strength with Antoine Walker’s inside moves and Issel’s ability to hit the mid-range jumper (and he even knows what the back board is for) plus he shoots from outside pretty well. From what I understand he’s getting better at that all the time. Not many players can score like that. Not many at all. Plus he has an all day motor and a nose for rebounds. He plays decent defense but he will get better in that realm. I really think he could be UK’s best talent ever.

  4. Little Baron

    Larry, you nailed it with Issel, Monster-Mash & Lee. I sent an email to a good friend after the game and stated that he reminded me of Issel. Adding Mashburn (and even Lee) to describe Randle is interesting and accurate.

    I saw Issel all 4 years, and he was a scoring machine… only Pistol Pete Maravich could outscore Issel. Just a few years removed from Pistol, and Issel would have been even more acknowledged nation-wide for his greatness, because he AVERAGED 30 plus points… just a few shy of Pistol’s 44.

    1. King Ghidora

      A lot more people had high scoring averages in those days LB. They didn’t let defenders hand check. That was the main difference in the game then and – well not now but last year. For example Johnny Neumann of Ole Miss averages 40.1 ppg the year after Pete graduated. Players like Rick Barry averaged 37.4 one year. Oscar Robertson averaged over 35 a few years earlier. It wasn’t all that uncommon to see high scorers in those days even at big schools. Austin Carr played the same time as Dan and Pete and scored 38 ppg for Notre Dame. It’s much easier to score if defenders can’t push you off balance and out of your stroke. Dan averaged almost 34 ppg his senior year but again he wasn’t second on the scoring list. Carr was. Neumann could possibly have scored more than Pete since he averaged over 40 his first year. He was the first player to take what was known as the hardship clause and go pro early. He was a scoring maching though and might well have been better than Pistol. Some of you hard core types might remember that Neumann played one year for the Colonels (1976). He was considered a ball hog by most of the pro teams he played for though. I don’t think he ever averaged over 20 ppg as a pro. Several teams treated Pete the same way BTW. Remember that he didn’t have his dad coaching his college team. He might have gotten up a few more shots if he had. Many thought Pete was given too much freedom to shoot by his dad.

  5. steve

    He is a great young player no doubt. It does seem strange to compare him to Mash and Issel, guys who played full careers. I don’t mean this sarcastically but isn’t it more difficult to create a legacy when you play for just one season?

    1. Larry T Clemons

      We are comparing His Body, His Game, his Natural attributes……I see Him do things that I saw In Issel, Mashburn & Lee……and this young man is just a Freshman….And your right Steve, Issel, didn’t have Randle’s Numbers til He was a Junior. So who’s it unfair too !

      1. King Ghidora

        Very good point Larry. Of course Rupp wouldn’t let him shoot enough his first year to score like he did his second and third years. Who knows though. I just remember that a guy named Casey was scoring a lot the first year he played which was the same year as Issel first played. He scored more than Dan that year. Issel sort of took over his junior year and of course Casey sat out the next year with a broken leg. That would have been a tremendous team if Casey had been healthy. They were mighty good as it was.

  6. TheProfessor

    “… he wanted to put them on his shoulders …” A post I made a week ago used almost this identical phrase about Randle. Folks, that is what Cazzie Russell did through his playing career at Michigan. Julius Randle has that same mindset.

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