Julius Randle will leave college after one year to enter the NBA draft. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport)
Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle declared for the NBA draft on Tuesday.
"I would like to thank the entire Kentucky family for this year, but I have decided to take the next step and enter into the NBA draft," Randle wrote on Twitter.
Randle, 19, averaged 15 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 30.8 minutes per game for the Wildcats this season, earning Third Team Associated Press All-American, All-SEC and SEC Rookie of the Year honors.
The physical power forward played a major role during Kentucky's surprising run to the NCAA title game, tallying double-doubles in four tournament games, but he finished with just 10 points and six rebounds in Kentucky's loss to UConn.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix has Randle going to the Celtics at No. 5 in his latest mock draft.
Randle has drawn comparisons to a more athletic Zach Randolph, Michael Beasley and even Derrick Coleman. Scouts wish Randle was more consistent, but back-to-back strong games in the tournament (32 points, 25 rebounds in Kentucky's first two wins) are a reminder that when he's on, the freshman is a dynamic post player and a rugged rebounder. His wingspan -- just 6-11 -- will likely be dissected at the combine, but the offensive talent will be hard to overlook.
Boston has two young power forward prospects in Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, but Randle's potential could be too much to pass up. Randle possesses a diverse offensive repertoire. He can score inside and out, drawing comparisons ranging from Zach Randolph to Michael Beasley. The Celtics figure to be active in trade talks this summer, so increasing the team's frontcourt depth should not be an issue.
A native of Texas, Randle is listed at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. He currently ranks No. 4 on DraftExpress.com's Top 100
and No. 5 on Chad Ford's Top 100