Kyle Randall is a 23 year old 183cm point guard from Youngstown, Ohio that has been a professional since 2013. He started his basketball career in 2009 with NC-Greensboro (NCAA)where he played three seasons before moving to Cent.Michigan (NCAA) in 2012 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 18.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 85.5%. In 2013 he started his professional basketball career with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League): 24 games: 4.3ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.4apg, in Mar.’14 signed at Canton Charge (D-League): 3 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg. Last season he played for the Rochester RazorSharks (PBL) playing 17 games averaging 10.9ppg, 4.2rpg, Assists-2(6.2apg), FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 77.2%. This past summer he had his second tour of duty in the NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Sacramento Kings): 4 games: 2.8ppg, 1.0apg. Kyle spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
My pleasure, I’m honored to be talking with you. I am currently in the state of Washington where I have been all summer. My summer has been great honestly. I’ve had time to relax with family and friends, but I’ve also been hitting the gym hard. I really feel my game has taken leaps forward this off-season.
The new season in Europe is fast approaching and you seem to want to go in this direction after playing in the D-League and last with the Rochester RazorSharks (PBL). How big is your desire to play in Europe and show your talent overseas?
I have a huge desire to play overseas this upcoming season. I’ve played in the states my first two years of being a professional and now I think it’s time for me to venture out and challenge myself across the waters. I feel that my game will translate well with the style of play overseas, maybe even more so than it does with how it’s played in the states.
Your desire to show what you got as a player is enormous at the moment. You have to prove yourself, but obviously want and need the right situation. How would you describe your desire to show the world that you can lead a team and perform well?
My desire to lead a team is pretty big. I’ve led a team at every stage of my career and I think it is now time to do the same at the professional level. I have been on young teams and veteran teams, which has taught me a lot about being a leader in different environments. These past two seasons, especially, have been huge learning experiences for me in terms of knowing what to expect as a professional and also learning more about myself as a basketball player. I feel that this upcoming season, wherever it is, is my time to show the world what I’ve got and I am ready.
You are so anxious to show the world what you got that you will play for very little just to get the chance to prove yourself. Would you place basketball at the number one spot at the moment?
Basketball is my life; I live, sleep, eat, breathe basketball. Having the opportunity to play professionally is a blessing and a dream come true. One thing that the game has taught me is, no matter how good you are everything must be earned. With that being said, I am not opposed to playing for less money this season overseas. Although I have played professionally for two seasons, this would be my first overseas so I must earn my stripes and make a name for myself. So if a team were to pick me up, they would get a two-year veteran at the price of a true rookie. My main concern this year is making a name for myself and playing well, not the money.
Last season you played for the Rochester RazorSharks (PBL) playing 17 games: 10.9ppg, 4.2rpg, Assists-2(6.2apg), FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 77.2%. Last season was kind of a lost season. You weren´t represented well. What did you learn from last season that will help you not go down the wrong road again?
Like you said, last season I did not have good representation so I ended up playing in a league that is not well respected around the world. As a young player I had no idea this was the case, and my agent never told me. To me, I felt that playing somewhere was better than not playing anywhere at all but I found out that is not true in most cases. So going forward I now know that I must be more careful on where I decide to play. Young players make mistakes but I am ready to move forward and make a name for myself overseas.
You recently played at the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with the Sacramento Kings. What kind of experience was this for you? You didn´t get many minutes and had stiff competition from a David Stockton who is on the verge of becoming a full time NBA player.
It is always a great experience playing in the NBA Summer League. This was my second go around with it and I played well. Although I did not get many minutes in games, I did my best to maximize any opportunities I did have. However, in my opinion, the games are not the best part about Summer League. I got the chance to compete with NBA caliber players and learn from NBA coaches in practice every day. It was in those practices where I gained a ton of knowledge about the game and myself as a player.
You were lauded by well known basketball faces like Nancy Lieberman and Vlade Divac. How discouraging was it not getting an NBA invite to a training camp?
Not getting invited to an NBA training camp was disappointing but not discouraging. It’s hard to be discouraged when I still get the chance to play basketball every day. I will get many more chances to get an invite; this year just wasn’t my year. As long as I am playing basketball, I am happy.
What kind of experience was it playing besides a David Stockton who is 10 cm smaller than you? How did you guys make each other better?
It was great. David is a good player and super competitive. We battled a lot in scrimmages and shooting competitions after practice. I loved it, competing is what makes this game fun. Going up against him, a guy who is on the brink of being a full time NBA guard, and holding my own reassured me that I can play at that level too.
You had a rookie season to forget in 2013-2014 playing for Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League): 24 games: 4.3ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.4apg, in Mar.’14 signed at Canton Charge (D-League): 3 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg. What went wrong in your rookie season?
Being in Fort Wayne was not a good situation for me. I didn’t really get the chance to showcase my abilities. If anyone looks at the season closely, they’ll see that when I got good minutes I played well. With that being said, I should have done a better job at maximizing the time I did get. I was 21, I was a rookie and didn’t handle things well mentally. I needed a season like that though because it taught me a lot and made me tougher mentally. That season, although statistically not very good, was a blessing in disguise for me. It made me a better player and helped shape how I approach the game today. Now, 23, I am the age of most rookies coming out of college except I have two years of professional experience under my belt.
The D-League is a place where there are many very talented players placed into a cage and it is obvious that not every player will get their suitable minutes. The D-League can help players or in some situations not at all. How important is that player/coach relationship in this league?
Player/Coach relationships are very important in the D-League. That alone can sometimes determine whether a player plays good minutes or not. But that’s a part of the game. There is always going to be politics in basketball because at the end of the day it is a business. However, in most cases players determine how much they play. Player/Coach relationships also can help determine how much freedom you have on the court as a player. I think it all just depends on what type of situation you’re in. Some coaches keep the personal side separate from basketball and some don’t.
You are a scoring point guard. Talk a little about your game. You never had high assist totals until last season in the PBL. You scored a lot as a senior at Central Michigan while Chris Fowler was more the playmaker. Have you had to score more in your past than necessarily having to be more of a playmaker depending on the teammates you had and what system a coach had implemented?
I think my game adapts to the situation I’m in. If a team needs me to score I can do that. If they need me to get assists I can do that too. I think having the ability to score actually helps my passing ability. It makes the defense play me honest because I am always a threat. However, my main focus when I play is to win games so whatever it takes to win, that is what I will do. When I was at Central Michigan we had a young team, so in order for us to be competitive I needed to score. Last year, we had scorers already so all I had to do was get them the ball.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t necessarily get noticed right away when looking at your stats?
I am a good defender. Statistically I may not average many steals, but defense is about more than getting steals. I can keep the ball in front of me, get through/over screens, and I play good help defense as well.
Please explain in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team now with your game?
I am an experienced point guard who can make his teammates better and also score the ball. I am used to the speed and strength of the pro game because I have played in it for two years. I am a hard worker, a good teammate, and a good leader. I think all those things give me the ability to come in and make an impact on a team right away.
You moved from North Carolina-Greensboro(NCAA) to Cent.Michigan (NCAA) in 2012. How important was it making this step when looking back at how your senior year progressed?
It was very important for me to make that move. UNC-Greensboro was great my first three seasons, but I felt we were moving in different directions going into my senior year. It worked out perfect too since I graduated and earned my degree in those three years. I was going to be able to play right away while being in grad school at CMU. I definitely would not have had the same type of success in my senior season if I would have stayed at UNC-Greensboro.
As a freshman you played with Mikko Koivisto of Finland who is playing at the 2015 Euro with Finland. That was your first time playing with a European at the college level. What do you remember most from his game that definitely wasn´t American?
Mikko was great to play with. He didn’t care about scoring a ton of points; all he wanted to do was win. One thing that stood out about Mikko was that he moved well without the ball. He didn’t need the ball in his hands the whole time to make something happen. He knew when to cut, when to spot up, etc. That wasn’t something I was use to.
Do you remember hearing stories at North Carolina-Greensboro about Kyle Hines who went against many odds and has won 2 Euroleague titles in Greece. Does a story like his motivate you to keep working hard and never giving up?
I wasn’t in school with Kyle Hines but I heard all the stories. He came back to UNC-Greensboro every summer while I was there though so I had a chance to meet him and play in pick-up games with him. His story definitely motivates me. He had to overcome many obstacles to get where he is. Another former UNC-Greensboro player that has had success overseas that also motivates me is Ricky Hickman. He was on the Maccabi team coached by David Blatt that won the title. He started off in the lowest league and worked his way up to the top. Both players are huge inspirations and proof that hard work pays off.
What was the most important thing that head coach Keno Davis gave you as a senior at Cent.Michigan (NCAA) that prepared you best to make the next step as a professional?
Coach Davis gave me the opportunity and freedom to be myself. He never tried to put me in a box and tell me to only do this or only do that. He wanted me to do whatever was needed to help the team win. He trusted me to lead the team my way and that is something that I will forever be grateful for.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Chris Fowler at Central Michigan?
Chris Fowler is like a little brother to me. In that one year playing together we became really close. He has played a part in the player I am today because he is always pushing me to be better. With that being said, it is always competitive when we play no matter if it’s one on one or if we’re on opposing teams in five on five. I have won and lost games, but he is a great player so it’s always fun competing.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
LeBron is the best player in the game today and is already being mentioned in the same breathe as Jordan. I think he will come back this season looking for some revenge after losing in the finals last year. He still has some years left to play too, so maybe one day he could surpass MJ in terms of accomplishments. MJ will always be the greatest in my eyes though.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Straight Outta Compton. It was an awesome film. Not only was it just a good movie, it taught the viewers a lot about the group, the era they came up in, and what they did for hip-hop. Even if you don’t like hip-hop, I recommend going to see it.
Thanks Kyle for the chat.