In 2016/2017 the 5’10 pocket rocket took the NBL by storm with his lightning quick speed dynamic offensive. Unfortunately, a late season knee injury forced him to the sidelines and the 36ers out of playoff contention last season.
Last season Randle led the league in scoring (23 PPG) while dishing out the second highest assists per game (5 APG). The effort from Randle good enough to place him third in league MVP voting (behind MVP Kevin Lisch and Chris Goulding)
Randle’s injury and mid-season signing probably caused him to lose out on the league MVP trophy as well but with a clear bill of health and an NBL offseason under his belt, he’ll be looking to capture the MVP and playoff spot which escaped him in 2016.
In the NBL off-season, Randle returned to Europe where he has spent most of his playing career (he is now a naturalised European and a member of the Ukrainian national team) and led Žalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania) to the 2015–16 LKL championship with a Finals MVP performance.
Randle hasn’t taken much of a breather since returning to the court from that knee injury so no doubt his motor will be in good shape, and he’ll be aiming to hit the ground running in game one for the Sixers.
Adelaide agreed to terms with Randle before he left for Lithuania and have built a team (even if it is a low cost one) around the talents of Randle as they strive to upset some of the NBL “super” teams who spent a much greater amount of money on player contracts.
The perimeter shooting of new recruits Anthony Drmic and Terrance Ferguson should help Randles cause, giving him a strong perimeter offence to combine with his slashing offensive style. Defending teams will need to spread the floor to cover the outside scoring from Drmic and Ferguson, giving more room for Randle to operate.
The Adelaide 36ers have a much younger roster than opposing teams, Daniel Johnson (28 years old) and Mitch Creek (24 years old) being the veterans of the group. Even Randle’s non-Australian teammates, Ferguson (18 years old) and Eric Jacobsen (22 years old) will be playing as a professional for their first time when the Sixers play Illawarra on October 7th.
Even though Randle may be of small stature compared to other players in the league the 36ers chances of reaching, the playoffs will be placed squarely on placed on the shoulders of his 175cm, 77kg frame.
Coach Wright will use Randle as an extension of his voice on the court and Randle has already voiced the fact that he and Wright are on the same page.
“He’s the best coach I ever had in my career and you can quote me on that” Randle describes his relationship with Joey Wright last season.
The 36ers hope that they will be echoing rapper Drake’s “Started from the bottom” at season’s end and Randle’s shown he’s got the dance moves to go along with it, but it will take an MVP season from Randle to compete with team’s who have been more aggressive in their off season recruiting.
A top four finish is a huge mountain for the Sixers to climb, but if you had to chose man man to drag a team of young men to the top of any mountain, going with Jerome Randle is a pretty solid choice.
Now we just wait and see how can HANDLE the RANDLE in 2016/17.