Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) senior forward Julius Randle is projected to be a top five pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Kentucky freshman center Nerlens Noel was in the same position during his senior of high school, but after Noel tore his ACL in a loss to Florida on Tuesday, his NBA draft stock likely dropped -- however slightly -- from consensus No. 1 to somewhere in the top 10.
Noel's injury got Randle and other elite players thinking about the fairness of the NBA’s age-limit rule, which says that players must be 19 years old and at least one year removed from high school before entering the NBA.
“I think you should be able to go ahead and go if you’re ready,” said Randle, a preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection who is ranked No. 2 in the Rivals150.
Noel’s injury hit close to home for Randle, who has been out since November with a fractured foot. Montverde (Fla.) center Dakari Johnson had a similarly scary knee injury last summer that kept him sidelined for three months.
“I think, you know, if you have a chance to go, then why not?” Johnson told the The Courier-Journal. “Why hold a kid back if he has an opportunity to realize his dream and help his family out? Why not just let him go?”
For Randle, the bottom line is simple.
“When you’re ready,” he said, “you’re ready.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.