Randall Ready for First Career Start

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Coach Mike Rice confirmed Monday at practice that freshman forward Derrick Randall is penciled in as the starter for tonight's game with West Virginia. Randall, who logged 37 minutes in two games last week, spoke about what it means to start and how it affects his mindset.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Enthusiasm is what earned freshman forward Derrick Randall a spot in the starting lineup but it can also be his downfall.

A sparkplug off the bench with enough energy to jumpstart a car battery, Randall is the first to say he needs to make sure he does not go overboard tonight against West Virginia.

"It's kind of hard," Randall said. "Sometimes if I ever do start, I'll be too anxious. I'll be like, ‘I'm starting, don't mess up, don't mess up.' And then I'll end up messing up. So I just have to come down and focus my energy toward the rebounding and not just having my head go everywhere. "

In a week where Elijah Carter earned Rookie of the Week honors in the Big East, Randall had his best two games with the program. Randall scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in 47 minutes against No. 10 Florida and South Florida.

"He's been everything, energy, confidence," Carter said of his classmate. "His confidence is really high. He's just a monster down low. He's what we need."

Head coach Mike Rice said Randall will replace junior Austin Johnson in the starting frontcourt alongside Gilvydas Biruta tonight against West Virginia. Facing a big Mountaineer team, Rice hopes Randall gives the Scarlet Knights a much needed boost in the paint.

"Derrick gives you what he gives you," Rice said. "He's going to give you an honest effort. He's going to give you some toughness. But his confidence is what's setting him apart. He's catching the ball, he's going after rebounds out of his area. He's confident and communicating and doing the right thing. That's everything in the game of basketball, especially for freshmen. He's confident because he's really worked tremendously hard and improved a great deal."

Playing in all 14 games of the bench this season, the 6-foot-10 Randall averages two points and three rebounds in 10 minutes per game.

In the starting lineup and expected an increased role, Randall said his focus remains the same.

"Stay simply, in sync and working hard and everything will just fall through," Randall said. "I'm excited. I hope it's a packed crowd like the Florida game. I'm very excited to play in the Big East."

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