By Brandon Judeh
Any young man who has ever picked up a basketball has dreamed of one day being the king of the NBA.
Mahoning Valley native Kyle Randall can now say he was a King — a Sacramento King for the summer.
The 21-year-old Kennedy Catholic alum got the call a few weeks ago when he was invited to be a part of the Kings’ NBA Summer League team.
“I was in Greensboro, North Carolina working out when I got the call,” Randall said. “My agent was working with the Kings to get me a tryout, so I knew it was in the works, but when I found out it was official I was definitely excited.”
Randall knows the summer camp — which ended Monday in Las Vegas — was an invitation. However the former UNC-Greensboro and Central Michigan player sees it as an opportunity not many recieve.
“I’m not getting a lot of minutes, but I know that there are a lot of guys sitting at home wishing they had this opportunity, so I can’t complain,” Randall said. “I feel very blessed to have this chance.”
It comes as no surprise that Randall has taken his talents to the next level; he comes from a family with a basketball tradition.
His father, Craig, played basketball at Westminster College; mom Karla did so at Cardinal Mooney High and Kent State University. His older brother Lance played at Ursuline High and his youngest brother, Craig, is a standout at Girard High, where he’ll be a junior this fall.
“Our family has a strong background in basketball, so to see Kyle have this opportunity is special,” said Craig Randall Sr. “Nothing is guaranteed, but it’s an opportunity and we are very proud.”
Randall had a standout career at Kennedy Catholic in Hermitage, Pa., scoring more than 2,000 points. He was a two-time all-state performer and three-time all-league selection. He also was the Associated Press Class A Player of the Year in Pennsylvania.
“I owe a lot to my former coach, Tim Loomis,” Randall said. “He taught me a lot; most importantly, how to play good defense.
“I have a lot of great memories from my time at Kennedy Catholic, I just wish we could have won the state title my senior year, but everything happens for a reason.”
Randall, who says he looks up to NBA players such as Chris Paul, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, carried his lessons from high school over to his college career.
He spent his first three seasons at UNC Greensboro where he averaged 8.2 points per game, then transferred to Central Michigan for his final season. That’s when his career took off.
“There were no expectations my senior year, I just wanted to go out and have a good year and be a mentor to all of the young guys,” Randall said.
It was a good year that turned into a great one for Randall, as the 5-foot-11 point guard surprised the Mid-American Conference by leading the league in scoring with 18.7 points per game and averaged 34.5 minutes per game.
After being on the floor and being Central Michigan’s go-to guy last season, Randall had to fight for minutes with the Kings’ summer team.
“It’s a different type of situation,” he said. “I am competing against some older guys and guys that were drafted, so it’s an uphill battle
“At times it’s frustrating, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”