Julius Randle says the foot that launched a thousand new mock drafts is just fine.
The 19-year-old power forward from Kentucky was in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, showcasing his skills — and quelling concerns about his right wheel — in a two-man workout for the Utah Jazz.
“I did my homework and spoke to the best foot doctor we have in the country,” said Randle, addressing concerns that a fracture he sustained in high school had not healed properly. “There’s no issue with my foot. I got through five workouts. I’m good, ready to go through summer league wherever I am. That’s all I know. I don’t know anything about a surgery.”
So while speculation about Randle’s old injury has caused his draft stock to fall in the eyes of some, Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin says Utah officials don’t see a need for worry.
“Do we have a concern about his foot? No,” Perrin said.
Instead, the Jazz seemed more focused on Randle’s 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame — making him one of the most NBA-ready bodies to come through town for a workout this summer.
The Jazz have been impressed with Randle since last summer and came away even more so after interviewing him during the pre-draft combine in Chicago last month.
“First and foremost, he’s an absolutely great kid,” Perrin said. “We had a great interview with him in Chicago. He has an extremely high motor. He’s a lot stronger than I think he even realizes. He’s got big upside.”
Randle, who had 15 points and 10.4 rebounds a game last season at Kentucky, helping the Wildcats reach the national title game, has a chance to be a special offensive player in the league and should be available when the Jazz pick at No. 5 later this month.
“He was probably the most dominant big man [coming out of high school] last summer,” Perrin said. “Because of the situation at Kentucky, with all the great players, I think he can show a lot more than he showed at Kentucky.”
At his workout, Randle impressed with his shooting, knocking down shots in the 18- to 20-foot range. He also said he was able to fight through the altitude during his first trip to Utah.
On Wednesday, Randle looked up at the banners hanging in the Jazz’s practice facility when asked if he thought he would fit in with the franchise.
“You look up there and see all the accomplishments, all the Jazz organization has done,” he said. “I think I fit in right away because I come from a program like that.”
And the banner the Jazz are missing — a championship banner — is something Randle says is foremost on his mind.
“My expectations are a championship,” he said, “and here would be a great spot for it.”
O Thursday, June 26
TV • ESPN