The Los Angeles Lakers selected Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft in Brooklyn on Thursday.
Randle set Kentucky freshman records in double-doubles (24), boards (417), and free throws made (204) as the SEC Freshman of the Year, and was named to the All-SEC First Team.
“I couldn’t be more blessed and fortunate to go to an organization like Los Angeles, said Randle, via the team’s official site. “They’ve had so much history and so much success in the past, and to be able to go to an organization like that … I couldn’t be more happy. This is truly a blessing for me.”
General manager Mitch Kupchak was surprised Randle fell to No. 7.
“He has big-time skills,” said Kupchak. “He can put the ball on the floor, he can drive, he can get to the rim … he plays and competes at a very high level.”
Randle has a foot issue, but the Lakers expect him to be ready for training camp. He will need all the veteran help he can get during his rookie season.
“(Bryant) may get tired of me because I’m going to be bugging him trying to learn stuff from him,” Randle explained. “I demand a lot from my teammates as well, holding each other accountable, putting extra work in was what I had to do at Kentucky.”
The Lakers also acquired the draft rights to Jordan Clarkson, picked 46th overall, from the Washington Wizards in exchange for cash considerations.
Clarkson, a 6-5 junior guard from Missouri, was named Second Team All-SEC.