Julius Randle dominated the interior post during Kentucky’s win over Michigan on Sunday. His 16 points and, more importantly, 11 rebounds helped the Wildcats hang on down the stretch in what was one of the most exciting games of the tournament. And Randle’s unlucky mother didn’t even get to stick around to watch the end of the instant classic.
Randle’s mother Carolyn Kyles, whom the freshman credits for making him such a great basketball player, had to leave at halftime.
Julius Randle's mom had to leave at halftime so she could return to Texas and go to work tomorrow. Randle: "I'm coming home to my mom."
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) March 30, 2014
According to The Dagger, those who were sitting near Kyles said she was in tears at the thought of leaving with her son’s team down four in the most important game of his life. Kyles, a 6-foot-2 former basketball player, told The Courier Journal last week that she gave Randle everything she had on and off the court when he was growing up.
“I would push him around. He’d fall down and hop up all mad,” she said. “I’d throw hook shots on him, and it would just kill him. I couldn’t feel guilty, because this was the position I was in. I had to be both mother and father. I couldn’t be weak. I had to be strong. I couldn’t baby him. I had to make sure my kids were strong, show them how to get out there and fight for what they wanted. That’s what they saw in me every day.”
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. Aaron Harrison knocked down a game-winning 3-pointer to send Kentucky to the Final Four in Arlington, which is located less than an hour from where Kyles lives in the Dallas area. She should have no problem arranging her work schedule around the Saturday night game.