Derrick Randolph is a dynamic player. Joe Henricksen of the City/Suburban Hoops Report lists him as the second best player in the Illinois class of 2012. Generously listed at 5'-7", Randolph has explosiveness and overall ability to make up for his lack of size. Is his lack of height a problem for him?
"Not at all. I just take it as more motivation for me to go harder."
Randolph is fearless. In a recent AAU tournament game, 6'-9" Anthony Davis, he of the 7'-4" wing span and excellent leaping ability and timing, stood between him and the basket. Randolph put his head down and drove for the hoop.
Davis never had an easier block, but the play demonstrated Randolph backs down to no one. Paul White, an entering freshman and future superstar for Whitney Young, is excited to have Randolph on his team.
"Yeah, he plays hard from tap to buzzer. He doesn't give up. He always pushes the ball, and he always plays defense. He's the type of player you love to have on your team. That's why I'm thankful he's on mine."
Randolph is cocky on the floor but humble off it. He downplayed how he is blowing up this summer.
"Yeah, just working hard. I've been putting up a lot of shots. Our coach says to just stay in the gym, be consistent and work hard. I'm working out, getting my stuff together in school, spending time in the gym. That's all."
It's the school part that has been a problem in the past. Randolph could have spelled point guard Ahmad Starks last year, but it was not to be according to Slaughter.
"We feel good about him. If we'd had him last year, it would have made things a little different. Of course, it wasn't to be. He wasn't with us in the playoffs. He had some difficulties. All we can do now is look forward to the future."
Randolph explains further.
"I needed to get my grades up to come back. I had to take care of business in class."
College is on the backburner until he raises his academic standing.
"Right now, I just care about doing well in high school and taking care of school first. It's too early to think about college."
Now that he is playing again, he admits to patterning his game after Starks.
"Yeah because he knows how to shoot. He can shoot the jumper very well. He makes smart decisions and has a good IQ."
As any true point guard must, Randolph understands the importance of involving his teammates. That and winning are his main focus.
"Getting everybody involved. I'm dedicated to win. So whatever I've got to do to win, I've just got to do it."
Whitney Young has several stars plus other future stars waiting in the wings. Among their better players are a couple 6'-9" post players in Tommie Hamilton and Jahlil Okafor. Randolph has plenty of options for distributing the basketball.
"Yeah, we've just got to get them the ball. Go inside out to open up the floor for us."
Randolph has no doubt his high school team will be a force this winter.
"We're gonna do very well. When we play well, nobody's gonna beat us. We've just got to keep everybody involved, make sure we stick together. If anybody's got a problem, just help make them feel better."