Kentucky freshman Julius Randle declares for NBA draft

By Kyle Johnson,

University of Kentucky freshman power forward Julius Randle formally declared on Tuesday that he would be leaving college basketball for the 2014 NBA draft.

The 6-foot-9 freshman said, "Growing up, I dreamed about playing in the NBA."

USA Today reports he added, "I came here (Kentucky) to win a national championship, I came here to mature. We came one game short."

Randle was able to help the Wildcats reach their 16th Final Four, along with their 12th NCAA Championship appearance. The young player had a strong showing in the NCAA tournament, such as pulling in 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to topple undefeated Wichita State. He followed that up with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the team's win over Michigan in the Elite Eight.

For the season, the freshman power forward averaged 15 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, according to CBS Sports. After a successful first season, it was widely expected he'd declare for the draft.

Randle has been viewed as a possible top five pick in the upcoming draft, which is already stacked with plenty of young talent. Fellow Kentucky teammate James Young declared last week and there are still four other players on the team that could possibly follow suit.

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