Randolph is a big time prospect. He's not a power forward in the true sense of the word. He's that new breed of perimeter big man who can play from multiple spots on the floor and is most comfortable when facing the basket. That's who Randolph is and it's also one of the reasons why he's such a great prospect.
Another reason is youth. Randolph is relatively new to the game. Seriously, while most kids have been playing since early on, Randolph only picked up the sport in the past few seasons.
"My freshman year I was 6-4, 6-5," Randolph said. "I hated basketball actually. People asked me to play and I thought they were crazy. One day I was standing outside helping my Grandma move and this man asked me to come play. I didn't have nothing to do so I said everyone is talking about it and I might as well just try it."
Randolph's great experiment with the game didn't come until the end of his 8th grade year. He didn't play as a freshman at Serrano High then bounced from California to Arkansas and finally to Texas where he's spent the last year.
Speaking of last year, few had heard of Randolph until he attended an all-american camp.
"After my first tournament at Pangos All-American Camp," Randolph said, "that was the first time I really played and that's when they started putting my name out there."
Since Pangos, Randolph has gone on to do nice things with his game. A skilled player, he's kind of a Tayshaun Prince-Lamar Odom hybrid. Clearly one of the top talents who often times has exceptional moments, he can also leave you wanting more.
However, there are reasons for the inconsistency. For starters, Randolph admits that he's learning the game. Remember, this is second competitive season of basketball. Then there's the strength factor and the problem there is that he basically doesn't have strength.
"I still can get in there (inside) and do it but if I had (strength) I wouldn't have to extend myself and be as worn out," Randolph said. Basically what he's telling us is that once fatigue sets in there's only so much he can do until he adds muscle mass which makes sense.
"If the coach tells me he wants me to play in the post all game I could do good there and still get my points. If he wants me to do it on the wing I can do that too but I'm probably a little better on the wing with the ball in my hands where I can see and be in more control and do what I do."
Some guys are hoop junkies, watching all they can and picking up things from different players. Randolph doesn't watch much basketball at all. "I don't watch none really." He admits that probably sounds funny but he'd rather be in the gym.
"It probably is (an issue) but at the same time instead of watching a basketball game I'm working and doing something to help my game instead of sitting there watching everyone else play."
To his credit, Randolph took many chances to work on his game last week at the NBA Camp. While some took the opportunity to nap after lunch, Randolph was either going through drills or could be found on a side court with a ball in hand making shots.
As his game continues to evolve, so does his recruitment. Scout.com ran a list of schools that included Duke (no offer, little contact with the staff), Kansas, Texas, Connecticut and Memphis as main players. Illinois, Baylor, Georgetown, UCLA and Georgia were also cited. Randolph himself credited Baylor, Southern Cal and UCLA as being involved before the "hype" started.
Still, despite the interest and the big timers involved, Randolph is new to the process. He's actually just now learning about the "legends" that are recruiting him. "One day (a coach) came to school and they said he was a legend. To me, he's just another coach to me."
For Randolph it seems to be less about "who" is recruiting him and more about what each coach stands for. "I know the difference," Randolph said. "Whether a team runs or not, what type of coach the coach is and if he kisses your butt. I like coaches who are straight forward. If you're doing bad don't sugar coat it."
Without the sugar, Randolph is an elite level prospect. People want to see him play with more consistency and go hard all the time. Those are real criticisms. At the same time, his skill package is rare and to be completing just his second season of organized basketball, Randolph has tremendous upside and potential. If he can add weight like he aspires to do and increase his strength, the sky is the limit.
Those are the facts, no sugar coating involved.