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The reason Tom Thibodeau knew Knicks star Julius Randle was going to breakout

Knicks, Julius Randle, Tom Thibodeau

New York Knicks star Julius Randle has emerged as one of the brightest stars in the league this season while helping his team lock down the No. 4 seed in the East. But, Tom Thibodeau saw this coming.

The Knicks head coach recently appeared on the Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 FM and discussed how Randle’s first impression was a sign of great things for this franchise in 2020/21.

“I asked Julius to come in just to spend some time with him. It was during the pandemic, and I think the next day he jumped on a flight and he came up here,” Thibodeau explained. “We had a chance to spend like three or four days together, and I worked him out myself. And when he got here, I was really impressed with the type of shape that he was in, because it was in the middle of the pandemic and it was very difficult to go anywhere and work out or work on your game.

“You always have preconceived notions of what a player’s like having coached against, and once I got to know him and I saw the conditioning he had put in, and I also noticed that his shot was different and he was really shooting the ball well, so I could tell that he had put a lot of time into it.”

It’s clearly no surprise to Thibs that Randle has led the Knicks to their first playoff appearance since 2013. The former Laker is averaging career-highs across the board of 24.1 points, 10.2 boards, and six assists per night. He’s been the engine of this New York offense all season long, even making his first All-Star appearance in March.

From day one, Randle proved to Thibodeau that he was the right man for the job. The next step will be taking the Knicks past the first round of the postseason, where they face the Atlanta Hawks.