Julius Randle’s mom had to leave during the middle of the game to return to North Texas to make sure she caught her flight, and get to work on time.
Her son will be coming back shortly to play in the Final Four, after he was named the Midwest Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.
Randle, who attended Prestonwood Christian in Plano, scored 16 points with 11 rebounds and one block in Kentucky’s 75-72 win against Michigan on Sunday.
He was joined on the All-Midwest Regional team by teammates Aaron Harrison and Marcus Lee, and Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert from Michigan.
Randle’s performance on Sunday was merely a continuation of what has been an outstanding season by the freshman, who will likely declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft after Kentucky’s season ends.
He is regarded as one of the top three picks in the NBA Draft in June along with Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. Randle averages better than 15 points and 10 rebounds this season, and leads Kentucky in both categories.
Despite height disadvantages in the round of 32 against Texas and the Sweet 16 against Tennessee, Michigan finally ran into a team where its size mattered.
Kentucky outrebounded Michigan 35-24. No player from the Wolverines had more than four rebounds.
The lack of height from Michigan played a direct role in Kentucky reserve Marcus Lee going off for 10 points and eight rebounds in 15 minutes.
“It showed most for them on the offensive glass,” Michigan forward Jordan Morgan said. “Whether they were tipping it in, or tipping it back, they were really doing a good job just keeping it alive on offense.”
In the box score, Michigan outscored Kentucky 23-17 in second-chance points. In the paint, UK was plus-10.
Several Kentucky players are considered locks to declare for the NBA Draft after the season ends, most notably Randle.
But Michigan has at least two players who are regarded as first-round picks should they decide to leave school early.
Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas and forward Glenn Robinson III are both expected to put their names on the list, but after Sunday’s game neither would say if they have made a decision about leaving early.
The other potential Michigan player to leave early would be 6-foot-10 sophomore forward Mitch McGary, who has been injured nearly all season.
“We are all pretty sad about this loss right now,” Stauskas said. “We’ll address that later with our families.”