Monday night we are going to witness national championship game history no matter who cuts down the nets in Dallas. 8-seed Kentucky and 7-seed UConn will make up the highest total (15) between the two teams meeting in the championship of all-time - by far. The previous high was 11, conveniently enough in 2011 when 3-seed UConn bested Brad Stevens' 8-seeded Butler squad.
Although they didn't sneak up on anybody, not many people had Kentucky in this situation when they filled out their brackets. So the question is, after poor tournaments for Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, does this title game run make Julius Randle's draft stock rise? The simple answer: No.
Andrew (PG) and Aaron (SG) have not only both improved their numbers in March, but have played crucial roles in the team's success. Andrew has steadied this young Kentucky team at the helm of the offense, something he was unable to do earlier in the season. Aaron, on the other hand, has had arguably the most clutch NCAA tournament of any single player ever. The kid has hit three game winning 3-pointers all against one and two seeds! That is freakin' unheard of, and we still have a game to go.
Randle certainly has done nothing to hurt his stock, but NBA general managers are far too smart to over-draft someone based on their team going deeper in the tournament than expected. Remember, Randle is just one of Kentucky's seven McDonald's All-Americans. Assuming all the top prospects declare for the draft, Randle's draft stock really can not rise any higher than the fourth-best prospect. However, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid are not sure things to declare . . . scary, but true. If they were to return to school, Randle could rise as high as the second-best prospect behind Wiggins, but this would have nothing to do with how Randle performed during March Madness.
The best thing that Randle has shown us in his team's "cinderella" run (if it is possible for a Kentucky be a cinderella) has been his consistency. If he can continue that trait in the NBA, he will live up to his draft position and be a very good player for years to come.
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