Julius Randle Now No. 5 on Mock Drafts; Three UK Players Projected in First Round | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / March 4.
  • Julius Randle Now No. 5 on Mock Drafts; Three UK Players Projected in First Round

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    Back in November, both Magic Johnson and Jalen Rose told me they would take Kentucky’s Julius Randle with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

    That was before the emergence of Kansas‘ Joel Embiid, before Duke’s Jabari Parker proved he could put up 20 points virtually every night and before Dante Exum’s stock began to fully soar.

    Now here we are in mid-January and multiple mock drafts — including both Chad Ford’s and Chris Mannix’s — have the 6-foot-9 Randle going No. 5 overall. Ford has the Kentucky power forward going to the Utah Jazz.

    DraftExpress.com has Randle at No. 4 to the Philadelphia 76ers, with Exum at No. 5 to the Boston Celtics.

    That said, some lucky team — and it won’t be the Knicks — will get Randle, who has the potential to be a young Lamar Odom-type and potentially an NBA All-Star for the next 10-12 years.

    “He’s going to be one of the best because he can put it down,” Magic told me. “There’s not too many guys who can shoot it and put it down on the floor, create his own shot. And he’s mean. I like that he’s mean and he wants the basketball.”

    The consensus among draft gurus at this point is that three Kentucky players — not five or six as once thought — will go in the first round.

    Ford has Willie Cauley-Stein going at No. 12 to the Minnesota Timberwolves and James Young going No. 17 to the Chicago Bulls. Mannix has Cauley-Stein and Young going 11 and 12, respectively. DraftExpress.com has Cauley-Stein at No. 9 to the Denver Nuggets (via the Knicks) and Young at No. 14 to the Orlando Magic from the Nuggets.

    Andrew and Aaron Harrison remain in various 2015 mock drafts, with NBA personnel believing they would be best to wait until then, which, in turn, could make Kentucky especially loaded next season.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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