Kennedy Catholic grad
starring for C. Michigan
By Joe Scalzo
With his team in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, Central Michigan senior Kyle Randall has finally found a bright spot in the schedule.
The Youngs-town native and Kennedy Catholic High graduate will return home tonight when his Chippewas play Youngstown State’s men’s basketball team in a BracketBusters game at Beeghly Center.
“I call it a blessing,” he said. “It’s exciting the way it worked out. I’m going to get to play in front of a lot of people I grew up with, people who have been watching me play and following me since I was a young kid.”
Randall was born in Youngstown and attended Youngstown elementary schools and Canfield Middle School before enrolling at Kennedy Catholic High School.
He went 90-27 at Kennedy, including three trips to the Class A Final Four, and was named Class A player of the year his senior season. YSU tried to recruit him, “but I kind of made it clear I didn’t want to stay close to home,” Randall said.
He chose UNC-Greensboro instead, starting 65 games in three seasons while averaging 8.2 points and 2.2 assists. (YSU senior forward Damian Eargle transferred from UNC-Greensboro the year before Randall arrived.) After Greensboro coach Mike Dement was fired following a 2-8 start last season, the Spartans elevated assistant coach Wes Miller.
“The new coach and me didn’t feel the same way about playing time and the role I would have on a young team,” Randall said. “I figured it was best for me to start somewhere fresh and new.”
Because Randall graduated in three years with a business adminstration degree, he was free to transfer to another Division I school without sitting out a season. Central Michigan showed the most interest, valuing Randall both as a player and a mentor.
“The coaching staff connected with me and I connected with them,” said Randall, who is now a grad student. “It was the perfect situation.”
Randall ranks second in the Mid-American Conference in scoring at 17.8 points per game, a number that jumps to a league-best 20.3 in conference games. Randall is also among the league leaders in assists (2.7 per game), free throw percentage (86), 3-point percentage (36) and minutes (33.4).
But his individual success hasn’t led to much team success for the young Chippewas (9-16).
“I had hopes for a great senior year and I definitely didn’t expect things to go the way they’re going right now,” he said. “I’m grateful for the season I’m having, but I wish we had more wins.”
Randall plans to play professionally after this season and while his size (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) isn’t ideal, he feels he’s proven himself on the court.
“Part of being a professional is knowing the right people in the right place,” he said. “I feel like I’m prepared after playing four years in college, so hopefully everything works out.”
While tonight’s game might be his last in the area, Valley basketball fans will have plenty of chances to watch a Randall play basketball. Kyle’s younger brother, Craig, is a sophomore at Girard and is already among the area’s leaders in scoring.
“He’s having a great year,” Randall said. “He’s been working out with me and my older brother since he was probably 8 or 9 years old and you can see all the hard work he’s put in paying off.
“I’m definitely proud of him.”