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Julius Randle goes to Lakers at 7, hopes to learn plenty from Kobe Bryant

Jun 27, 2014, 12:46 AM EDT

NEW YORK — The Lakers selected Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, and at first glance, it appears to be a great fit for both sides.

But that’s only if Randle’s reported foot issue turns out to be a bigger deal than it seems.

There were rumors of surgery being necessary, which Randle himself quickly shot down, and continued to rebuff in the weeks leading up to the draft. He even said he believed the story was planted by a team hoping it might cause him to slip a few spots, but it didn’t end up hurting him, as he was projected all along to go in the range where he was ultimately selected.

The match with Los Angeles seems to be a solid one, with Randle admitting to being a huge Kobe Bryant and Lakers fan, and with the team needing a long-term, low post solution that proved capable of scoring and rebounding with the best of them while playing at the college level.

But Bryant has a reputation for not even talking to rookies when they first arrive, much less mentoring them from day one. Nevertheless, Randle hopes to be enough of a pest to get some pointers from one of the greatest of all time.

“I’m going to learn a lot,” Randle said. “[Kobe] may get tired of me because I’m going to be bugging him trying to learn stuff from him. But I think it’s more than him. He was blessed to be in an organization like the Lakers, as well. Talent alone, his work ethic alone got him there, but I think the Lakers was the right fit, the right organization for me to go to.”

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When it was pointed out how demanding Bryant can be of his teammates, Randle said he understood — because he was that way with teammates of his own.

“I demand a lot from my teammates as well,” Randle said. “Holding each other accountable, putting extra work in was what I had to do at Kentucky. It was what I demanded of my teammates, and that’s what we did, and that’s why we were successful.”

Randle had more of a chip on his shoulder during Wednesday’s media availability, especially where his foot issue was concerned. When he was asked whether or not his draft stock would be affected by the apparently incorrect report, he responded coldly.

“If you were a GM, would you think I was hurt?”

He was in much better spirits on Thursday, though, after landing with Los Angeles.

“We’re just ecstatic,” Randle said. “All the hard work that’s been put in, and for this to finally happen, what can I really say. I’m blessed to be in an organization like this. Really just speechless, honestly.”

  1. antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:53 AM

    “You can’t talk to me. You need more accolades under your belt before you come talk to me.”

    Randle should bug Pau instead.

    • ranfan12 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:52 AM

      I don’t know man. top 10 draft pick and a tweet from kobe? sounds like more accolades than the rest of the rookies kobe has played with. he’ll be fine.

      • money2long - Jun 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        haha anti sounds so jelly of kobe

  2. 00maltliquor - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    Exactly who I wanted! (After getting C-blocked from taking Smart)

    -From 00maltliquor and the rest of the Lakers fan-mily

    • loungefly74 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      man…i was getting pumped when they showed the comparisons…Zack Randolph and Derrick Coleman…2 guys who can bang it up. i hope Randle achieves that level.

    • spthegr8 - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      ^^^ I like the pick also guy’s. I think he is gonna be a STUD!! He can score in the post, board and he plays a physical brand of basketball. I think he is gonna have a immediate impact and be a good player in the league for a long time!! ^^^

    • imakcds - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Lakers need Randle’s skills more than Smart’s.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:45 AM

        Well, let’s look at it like this….

        This is who we have on the roster currently minus newly drafted Randle:

        PG Steve Nash (How much games will he play, and when he does, what’s his minutes limit? Can’t really count on him.)

        SG Kobe Bryant (what Kobe are we getting back? How dies he recover from multiple injuries and how much does he play, min./games)

        C Robert Sacre (that’s my dude! But let’s be honest, he’s a fringe NBA player/bench fodder. He’s who you have to round out the 12-15 man roster.)

        So basically, you are incorrect. We need everything under the sun, moon and stars basketball related.

        Plus I really wanted Smart, a defensive PG to handle the PLETHORA on great guards out West. We get torched year in and year out by EVERY teams PGs. While EVERY team has 1-2 good-franchise PGs, we haven’t seen anything that resembles a decent PG we can be proud of since Nick Van Exel (sorry Fish, your a Laker legend but….I’ll just move on…). HOPEFULLY we resign Marshall, he was phenomenal. But not quite good on D.

  3. spyder9669 - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    Kobe might get away with that stuff with Smush Parker..lets see how it goes with somebody a little more intimidating.

  4. asimonetti88 - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:12 AM

    Excited to see what the kid can do!

  5. papichulo55 - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    Kobe and Randle? Fire meets Desire! The first ever ROY for the Los Angeles Lakers.

  6. ranfan12 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:54 AM

    wouldn’t mind seeing footage of randle backing him down on the court

  7. lakerade - Jun 27, 2014 at 4:02 AM

    He’s saying the right things but hopefully his actions speak louder.

    So I guess Love will play the small foward instead.

  8. unxpexted1 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    I wanted Smart, but this was the best available player after Smart so it was the right move. He was who I originally wanted after the college season until Smart grew on me more. He has heart, which is going to be the key for him since he may lack some in skill. He seems like that the type of players guys will respect too.

  9. Andee - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Highest Laker draft pick since James Worthy in ’82 will go a long way in Kobe not treating him like Smush Parker.

  10. aboogy123456 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Not who I originally wanted but I trust the Lakers when it comes to evaluating talent. Everything I read about Randle makes me love his attitude, he will fit in right away and contribute. For people questioning a fit with Kobe, Randle is a hard worker and that’s all that matters. I also love that he was a kobe idol growing up, very happy for the kid.

    • kb2408 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Dude, you know guys take shots at Kobe every little chance they get. It’s actually pretty lame considering all that he has accomplished. To keep taking shots at a player of his stature this late in his career makes them look rather ignorant. Anyway, on to Mr. Randle. I echo your sentiments exactly. I wanted Boston to take a big so the LAKERS could take Smart. But I am pleased they got Julius. I think he will make a fine LAKER.

      • billtetley53 - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        He gets shots taken at him because hes an egotistical ahole. So are you minus the ego part. Thats why you get ripped on. Its just gotta kill you with the thumbs down on a laker story.

        You didnt want Randle prior to the draft, now he will make a fine laker? Way to not be wishy washy. You would have said that about anyone they drafted, youll like him til hes no longer a laker, them he will stink. So transparent.

  11. peddealer - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    00malt liquor….

    I hope for his success. He wore his moms number while she played at UT Arlington.
    Arlington is where I live and he grew up and went to Plano prestonwood, while I played my HS ball at Arlington HS (baseball w Hunter Pence) and basketball.

    I hope he turns into a beast and comes home to be treated like royalty from Cuban.

  12. fiyeaglesfiy - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    A lot of bloggers claiming drafting Randle means Pau won’t get resigned. I couldn’t disagree more. I think Randle and Pau would compliment each other pretty well. Pau is a mid-range threat on the baseline which will allow Randle to have some space to bulldoze in the paint. Naturally the size of Pau’s contract will be a factor but if both sides are open to a 3 years in the $10-$12mm range, team option on the third year, could be a great front line tandem for Kobe to work with for one last run.

  13. 22yearsagotoday - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    The Lakers are on a quest to compete with the best of the west, including their #1 rival Los Angeles Clippers. That rivalry can be one of the best in sports if the Lakers regain their standing as one of the top teams in the league.

  14. imakcds - Jun 27, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Seriously, when it comes to the Lakers, and when Kobe is mentioned, why do you all forget everything you know about basketball and let your minds sink to the gutter??
    Being CONSUMED by Hate is so unhealthy, y’all need to chill out before you work yourselves into a frenzied stroke.

  15. daburgh1985 - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    Kobe’s not as declarated or media friendly as MJ…But there’s no superstar post MJ that can be mentioned (outside of LeBron, who is at the time being less declarated than Kobe) as the best….

    All haters dislike him because of his EGO….Yet bash LeBron cuz he doesn’t have killer instinct….

    The problem is acceptance….A lot of fans can’t digest a Villain…(The only flaw Kobe has is injury, passing , Jim Buss & Father Time)…There’s never been a greater player post MJ….

    Most fans hold NBA Greats to a pedestal…but if Kobe wasn’t so arrogant, it would be unbiasly hard to hold him out of the top 3 Greatest SG’s and Top 5 Greatest Players Ever

  16. skins26portis - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:34 AM

    Lakers are the new Knicks of the West, all hype no production. How quickly they have fallen, since Phil left that mess. 2 coaches in the last 2 1/2 years and another coach on the way. Even the mighty Lakers can’t get a big name coach with that garbage roster. You get a unproven rookie to replace Pau Gasol a former all-star. Yeah that’s a better move ( LOL). Pau is a free agent but I don’t see him resigning with this dysfunctional organization. Lakers fans are the 3rd best team in California now behind the Warriors and Clippers. Maybe even Sac will be better then the Fakers.

  17. skins26portis - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    Randle said he grew up a Laker fan that’s sweet. Well this is not your daddy’s Lakers, or did we forget how awful they played this past season. Randle will learn quickly how Kobe will treat him like trash. If he plays poorly he will then throw him under the bus like he did Shaq, Howard, and Pau. Be careful what you wish for Randle cause you are walking to a hot mess. Oh by the way who is your coach going to be. They must be waiting on LeBron to tell them no he will not be coming to play with Kobe and broken down Nash.

  18. scbaby2013 - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Glad lakers got him.

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