They simply don't come much better than Levi Randolph, whether on the court or in the classroom. Alabama's senior guard collected yet another accolade in a career filled with accolades as he achieved his goal of becoming the Tide first ever Academic All-American in men's basketball on Thursday with the release of this year's Capital One Academic All-American team.
Consisting of a mere 15 players drawn from across the nation, Randolph was selected as a second team Academic All-American after three consecutive years as a Capital One Academic All-District IV first teamer. Not only was Randolph Bama's first ever Academic All-American designee in men's hoops, but he is also the sole Southeastern Conference player selected for the honor for the 2014-2015 season.
The Madison native from Bob Jones High School had the honor pegged from the time he was being recruited to the Capstone and discovered that no other Bama hoops player had achieved the lofty honor, said men's basketball coach Anthony Grant.
"Congratulations to Levi (Randolph) for becoming the first Academic All-American in Alabama basketball history," said Grant. "When we were recruiting Levi, after taking a tour of the Bryant Center, he noticed that there weren't any names on the board under Academic All-Americans for men's basketball. Obviously, there's been several for other sports. I think right from that moment he set that as a goal. To see him realize that, as a senior, it's really an attribute to him. I'm really proud and happy for him that he was able to establish that legacy."
Randolph, a 6'5", 208 pound guard for the Crimson Tide, attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing from the University in August and has since continued his studies in pursuit of a graduate degree in Marketing. After finishing his undergrad in three years with a 3.45 grade point average, Randolph has continued to excel in the classroom, posting a 3.75 GPA after his first semester of graduate work.
Among his other off-the-court accomplishments are his status as the first Tide men's basketball player to be named to the Capital One Academic All-District IV first team for three consecutive years, as well as his 3-time inclusion on the SEC Academic All-American team. Randolph was also named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team as a sophomore following the 2012-2013 season.
Teammate Rodney Cooper, also a senior, praised Randolph's work ethic and congratulated him on the accomplishment.
"I was happy for him, because I know he's my teammate and we came in together. That was a goal he set, and like he said all the hard work paid off for him. I am proud of him," said Cooper.
Randolph said the honor was the fruit of a tree planted long ago by his father Levi, who encouraged him to pursue not only excellence in athletics, but in the classroom as well.
"It feels good to see the hard work I've put in both on and off the court has paid off and helped me achieve this goal," said Randolph. "My father always told me that a person can stand on a book a lot longer than they can stand on a basketball ball and that's just always something I've lived by."
In addition to his academic prowess, Randolph has represented one of the Tide's steadiest contributors on the hardwood, where he is ranked among the team leaders in almost every offensive category. Heading into the Vanderbilt game, Randolph leads the Tide in scoring (14.8 points per game), assists (2.4 assists per game), steals (1.4 steals per game) and minutes (35.1 minutes per game). He is second on the team in rebounds with 5.0 rebounds per game, and he has played in every game this season, an extension of a 129 game streak that has seen Randolph play in every game for Alabama since he arrived on campus.
This year is no aberration, as Randolph has been a pivotal part of Grant's team's since he arrived on campus. As a junior, he played in all 32 games while starting in 19. He finished the season ranked second in offensive rebounds (38), rebounds per game (3.8), and points per game (9.6). During the 2012-2013 season, the then-sophomore played in all 36 games (with 35 starts) and finished second on the team in rebounds (4.2 rebounds per game) and third in assists (59), steals (39 and three-point percentage (.341). As a freshman, Randolph was the Tide's top perimeter rebounder with 3.9 per game and finished second in steals (34) after starting and scoring in all but one game.
Randolph, rated as a four-star recruit coming out of Bob Jones High School, was a two-time All-State performer and was named the 2010-2011 Alabama State Player of the Year in boys' basketball.
The senior, if drafted into the NBA, projects as a shooting guard. He is currently rated the 37th overall senior prospect in the 2015 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.