A Season Lost, Julius Randle Readies His Mind and Body to Lead Lakers from Abyss

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The body failed him in dramatic fashion for all the world to see.

It has led to the mind, under no spotlight and with no celebrity, becoming stronger.

Julius Randle's inability to play basketball drags on at a time when the Los Angeles Lakers' season would be about almost nothing but his personal development if he was healthy.

In spite of that, there is an undeniable optimism to Randle these days. It's a spirit, more like an assuredness, that this detour has been and will be completely worthwhile for him.

"It's easy to just take this as, 'Oh, I'm hurt. I can't do anything,'" Randle said in an extended interview with Bleacher Report. "But it's not like that for me. I want to learn. I want to be as prepared as I can next year."

Randle, the Lakers' highest draft pick in 32 years, broke his leg in his first NBA game. That was four months ago, and it would seem all he has accomplished since then is some healing of the tibia in his right leg (and taking advantage of the downtime to replace the screw in his right foot, which Randle now admits was estimated as "a 50-50 chance I may need surgery in the middle of a season if it breaks some more").

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak set about ensuring Randle, 20, was engaged mentally by assigning the rookie to write up reports about Lakers games. Randle would break down the game quarter by quarter, detailing what the Lakers did right or wrong, dissecting the opponent's game plan and focusing especially on matchups at Randle's power forward position.

Randle enjoyed it—not so much that he is planning a post-basketball career as a sportswriter, but the process of writing his thoughts down crystallized concepts in his mind.

Randle no longer has to email his papers in to Professor Kupchak, but Randle has taken the work to his own higher level. He now keeps a personal notebook of observ...

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