Chasing a dream: Kyle Randall vying for roster spot with NBA team
Playing in the NBA is a dream that every young basketball player has when they first start playing the game.
For former Central Michigan guard Kyle Randall, that dream is within reach.
Randall is one of 15 players to be named to the Sacramento Kings Summer League roster. This isn't a guarantee that Randall has made the NBA squad, but it's an important first step to achieving that goal of making an NBA roster.
"This is just another opportunity," Randall said. "With this opportunity, I get to perform and tryout for every team, so I'm pretty much trying out for not only the Kings, but every other team in the NBA. Hopefully, it goes well, and that's my first goal. After that, it's like I'm starting all over again in high school or college. Get on a team, make a name for myself, get in the lineup and hopefully fill my resume."
Randall hasn't taken the path most travel to the NBA. He wasn't a high school stud who played a year in college before bolting for the NBA. He wasn't even a typical senior who plays four years and graduates into the NBA.
No, Randall played three seasons at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where he graduated after three years. UNCG went through some coaching changes and the new style coming in wasn't suited to his game, so Randall made the decision to leave.
"That was a pretty big decision that I had to make," Randall said. "I felt the program there was going in a different direction that wouldn't benefit me, so I decided to leave."
Randall didn't know where he was going after the decision, but CMU was going through a coaching change itself. He landed there with new head coach Keno Davis and his up-tempo offense, and he flourished.
"He showed that he could lead the MAC in scoring and has several other skills that he is just beginning to scratch the surface with," Davis said. "We needed that point guard position to be solid ... We worried about the recruitment of point guards and to be able to get somebody like Kyle Randall, who not only had experience and graduated in three years, but was someone we could build that season around."
The point guard position quickly went from something that worried Davis and his staff to one of the team's strengths. Randall and freshman Chris Fowler created one of the strongest backcourts in the Mid-American Conference, with Randall averaging a MAC-best 18.7 points per game while earning All-MAC Second Team honors and Fowler breaking the CMU freshman single-season mark for assists and became a scorer himself at season's end while being named to the All-MAC Freshmen team.
Randall was able to play to his potential and get noticed by the NBA, while Davis was able to be competitive in Year One and now has a core to build around that learned from Randall's veteran leadership.
"The more we got to work with him, the more he exceeded our expectation," Davis said.
Randall isn't the first NBA prospect Davis has coached.
While at Providence, Davis coached first-round draft pick MarShon Brooks, who is now a rising star with the Brooklyn Nets. Davis has found some comparisons between Brooks and Randall with their character and development.
"I saw the same type of development that Kyle Randall had gone through (with Brooks)," Davis said. "Brooks was a player who wasn't heavily recruited and played sparingly as a freshman, but he continued to work and keep his goals in front of him."
That is where Randall is, looking at his goals right in front of him.
Randall has a shot that many of those kids who dream of the NBA don't ever get.
"I'm confident enough in my work ethic and the way that I go about training and getting better," Randall said. "I can be that, I can be a known guy in this league. It's all about getting that chance and going to the team that fits you."
Randall knows all too well that playing in the right system and taking advantage of opportunities helps his chances. After all, that's what he did at CMU.
"Once I get that opportunity, I know that I'll work my hardest to keep it, increase, accelerate it and keep moving forward," Randall said.
Randall's first opportunity comes Saturday, July 13, at 3 p.m. PDT in Las Vegas against the Dallas Mavericks.