With the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected one of the most talented players coming out of the college game in Kentucky’s Julius Randle. Although Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Jabari Parker (Milwaukee Bucks) went before him and are considered stars in the making, Randle may not be far behind potentially being the future face of the franchise in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, Randle’s rookie season was cut short with the lottery pick suffering a broken leg in the first game of the year against the visiting Houston Rockets. Losing Randle was a devastating blow to say the least for Los Angeles, but the first-year forward didn’t stop trying to improve even without being able to get on the basketball floor.
During Randle’s exit interview on Tuesday, the rookie forward said the following about Kobe Bryant helping him along the way this season, via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
Randle on Kobe: “He checked on me every day, every week and made sure my head was in the right place and getting ready for next year. "
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) April 14, 2015
The 20-year-old forward has made progress in his recovery on from surgery on his leg and was recently seen putting in work on the floor at the Staples Center before the team faced the Minnesota Timberwolves. Randle was running, dunking and shooting while debuting his slimmer frame after losing almost 20 pounds over the last few months.
Along with fellow rookie Jordan Clarkson, Randle will be a vital part of the rebuilding process in Los Angeles moving forward. The former Wildcat has the potential to be a star in this league and could quickly become part of a lethal one-two punch with Clarkson if the two young players continue to improve in the years to come.