Player of the Week: Kentucky's Julius Randle

I tweeted the following when the AP preseason All-Americans were announced last week:

Kentucky's Julius Randle got snubbed.

Among the replies was one from somebody defending the writers by insisting that "freshmen are complete unknowns" who "have to prove it." Such is silly on two levels.

  1. Freshmen are not complete unknowns.
  2. Preseason honors should be projections more than awards for something earned.

The first point is self-explanatory, I think, because if freshmen are "complete unknowns" then how is it that those who cover the sport seriously-- in addition to NBA scouts -- have seen all of the top freshmen many times? As for the second point, well, let me ask this: has a preseason Freshman of the Year ever "proved" anything at the Division I level before being named a preseason Freshman of the Year? Of course not. But those honors are still bestowed based on educated guesses. Preseason All-American teams should be handled similarly, and, in truth, they usually are -- proof being that freshman Andrew Wiggins was voted an AP preseason All-American before ever playing a game at Kansas.

Bottom line, like I said, the AP voters simply missed on Randle.

If you didn't know it then, you know it now.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Texas averaged 22.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in two wins -- a blowout of UNC-Ashville on Friday night followed by a blowout of Northern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon -- and is thus the College Basketball Player of the Week. His performances rank among the best two-game starts in Kentucky history and yet still do not accurately reflect what's possible for the future lottery pick.

"He should be averaging 20 rebounds a game right now," said UK coach John Calipari.

What's scary is that that's probably true.

"Julius Randle is a specimen," said UNC-Asheville coach Nick McDevitt. "He is very, very good. Rarely do you see a guy with that kind of size and athleticism and skill level. Coach Cal's going to have fun coaching him."

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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