Jonathan GivonyJulius Randle
's (#2 Scout, #4 Rivals, #3 ESPN) Prestenwood squad lost by 30 points to a very deep Oak Hill Academy team, with most of his 23 points coming in garbage time. Nevertheless, we've been able to get a very good feel for Randle's strengths and weaknesses watching him over the past year or so, and have always came away fairly impressed.
Randle sports an unbelievable frame for a 17-year old, to go along with good size at 6-9, but just an average wingspan at 6-10 (measured at the Nike Skills Academy).
Playing the face-up power forward position that seems to be incredibly en-vogue in today's basketball, Randle is a very fluid and mobile athlete with soft hands and outstanding scoring instincts, posing a tremendous mismatch threat for opponents every time he steps on the floor.
A very talented ball-handler, Randle has an excellent first step and an array of shot-creating skills he can utilize in the mid or high post. Very left hand dominant, he shows terrific footwork and creativity on his drives, both in the half-court and in transition, mixing in jab-steps, crossovers, spins and other advanced moves. With his strong frame, nimble feet, excellent body control, and solid leaping ability, he can finish aggressively through contact in traffic and gets to the free throw line at a very good rate.
Randle has good mechanics on his jumper and is a threat to catch and shoot with range out to the 3-point line. With that said, he tends to prefer slashing all the way to the rim and at times will force the issue driving and spinning into brick walls. A natural lefty, he can become a bit predictable for defenders since he's much better with this hand, and isn't a great passer to boot.
Showing the ability to post up inside, Randle should be able to do significant damage with his back to the basket in time with his terrific footwork and touch. Right now he gets a little too caught up in showing off his perimeter skills, though, and doesn't always fully utilize this part of his game.
Just an average defender, at best, at this stage, Randle's fundamentals and awareness will need plenty of work if he is to reach his full potential on this end down the road. He regularly takes plays off, doesn't get in any type of stance, and reaches excessively issues that we often see in players this age. His conditioning appears to be just average at this point as well, something he'll likely want to shore up by the time he lands in college.
Randle might fancy himself as being somewhat of a small forward, but at his size and with the way his body is developing, that might not be ideal for his long-term development, as it appears he'd be a far more potent weapon at the 4. Comparisons to Al Harrington
and Terrence Jones
are already making the rounds, and Randle's scoring ability seems to justify them.
Considered one of the top prospects in a loaded 2013 high school class, Randle will be drawing plenty of attention from scouts the moment he steps on a college campus.