Randle to NBA

Julius Randle made it official on Tuesday: he'll join fellow Kentucky freshman James Young in this year's NBA Draft.

Julius Randle made it official on Tuesday: he'll join fellow Kentucky freshman James Young in this year's NBA Draft.

During a largely anti-climatic press conference at Memorial Coliseum, Randle said the feed back he received from UK head coach John Calipari and several NBA scouts was enough to make his decision an easy one.

"I've been blessed and fortunate to be put in a position to have decisions," Randle said. "A big decision for me is whether to declare for the NBA Draft of not. Talking with my family, a lot of prayer I'm deciding to declare for the NBA draft.

"To all the Kentucky fans, I really want to thank you all for what you have done for me this year. I've had the best coaching staff in the country. They spent countless hours working with me, night in and night out, in the gym, preparing me to take this step."

The 6-foot-9 forward is currently projected by ESPN's Chad Ford as the No. 6 pick in this year's draft, going to the Los Angeles Lakers. A third-team All-American, he led UK in scoring (15.0) and rebounding (10.4) in helping the Wildcats make a run to the Final Four.

"This year, the more I think about it, it just went by so fast," Randle said. "I'm definitely going to miss it. Kentucky will always have a special place in my heart."

Randle hopes to learn more about his position in this year's draft -- which will also include high-profile "one and done" players such as Duke's Jabari Parker and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins -- as the combine approaches.

"I'm blessed to be in a position to be able to have a chance to get drafted, and I'm pretty sure when we start the combine and the workouts with individual teams I'll have a better feeling of where I'll go," he said. "But I was confident enough to enter the draft."

Kentucky is still awaiting official word on the draft intentions of twin freshman guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, freshman center Dakari Johnson and sophomore forward Alex Poythress.

The deadline to enter the draft is April 27.

Earlier this month, sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman center Marcus Lee announced they would return to the Wildcats after exploring their NBA interest.

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