Anthony Randolph Thrives in Big D

If you don't know Anthony Randolph, you could get the wrong idea about him. The 6-foot-11 junior has been on the move for the last couple of years, but he's soft-spoken and rarely answers without a "yes, sir" or "no, sir."

Anthony Randolph doesn't like the publicity. Sure, he yearns to be one of the top players in the country, but he'd rather just handle his business on the court rather than off of it.

``It takes away from being a kid," he said.

The 6-foot-11, 200-pound junior forward is engaging, but he's also guarded and it takes him a while to open up. Maybe it's the fact that he's moved around lately and he's not quite certain who he can trust.

Randolph grew up in California and moved to Little Rock, Ark., two years ago. He spent one season in Little Rock before his parents decided that the best scenario for his future was to send their son to Dallas, where he's living with his uncle, Will.

``The fact that Anthony has moved around has never been about basketball," Woodrow Wilson coach Pat Washington said. "He's one of the best, most soft-spoken individuals I've ever been around. The only way you even know he's in school if if you see him because he doesn't talk much."

Randolph admits its been difficult not to have stability over the past couple of years.

``It was an adjustment," Randolph said. "It's a lot busier here and there's a lot more competition."

``I've gotten much better since I've been here," he added. "The competition in Texas is the best I've ever played against."

Randolph missed a good part of his junior season at Woodrow Wilson High (Texas) because of transfer regulations. Even if he'd been able to play, he probably wouldn't after he broke his left hand while dunking prior to the start of the year.

Randolph played the final dozen games this past season and averaged 22 points, 12 boards and a trio of blocks per game.

``He's one of the best players not only that I've coached, but that I've been around," Washington said. "I've worked with LaMarcus Aldridge and Anthony's ballhandling skills are better and he's more versatile. He does things that a 5-foot-10 guard does and that a 6-foot-10 center does."

The two biggest hurdles Randolph needed to clear when he arrived in Dallas were to get his academics in order and also try and put on some weight.

So far, Randolph is 2-for-2.

He's earned a 3.0 GPA since arriving and has also added about 15 pounds in the last three months.

``This was the best situation for me to get my grades up," Randolph said. "I knew I needed this in order to get to where I need to be."

``My mindset before was basketball first," he added. "I wasn't focused on academics. My previous school didn't really care as much about my grades as what I did on the court. My grades were slipping, but they weren't worried about that."

Now, as the 16-year-old Randolph tried to establish himself among the elite players in the country, plenty of schools have taken notice.

Randolph lists (in alphabetical order): Baylor, Georgetown, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis and Texas as the primary schools he's looking at.

``I really want a coach who can help me get better and stronger," he said.

Randolph didn't have the same level of explosiveness this past weekend in Dallas that onlookers have been accustomed to from the long and versatile forward. He sprained his right ankle in Houston the week before, but still managed to be a dominating force in nearly every game he played at the Next Level Ballers tournament.

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