Athlete Spotlight: Life, loss and Alabama basketball for Levi Randolph

MBB

Levi Randolph, former two-time All-State basketball selection and Class 6A Player of the Year for Bob Jones High, just completed his junior season of play with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He assessed his own play when he said, “Overall, I think I had a pretty good season as I showed spurts of what I can be, but I need to be more consistent.”

The 21-year old is scheduled to graduate in August with a degree in business marketing and will play his senior season at the Captsone with the compassion and conviction to be better, just like has since age five.

Growing up in Madison and playing through the recreational leagues as a youngster, Randolph has always been a student of the game of basketball. Many times, his father was his team’s coach. Randolph remembered being a ball boy at local major high school basketball tournaments and intently watching the older players and learning their skills. He wanted to be those players. He also wanted to someday play college basketball and then advance to become a player in the NBA.

For the 6-foot-5, 205-pound guard, Randolph felt as bad as anyone after personally experiencing the dismal season Alabama posted. The Tide was overall 13-19 and was winless on the road during the 2013-2014 schedule. Randolph was second on the team in scoring with 9.8-points per game. He started all but three of the Tide’s games.

After given a one week break, Randolph will be among his teammates again where they will be putting their off season efforts towards building for a better season in what Randolph hopes will be a banner conclusion to his college career at Alabama.

“Coach (Anthony) Grant’s vision of this program becoming among the elite in the country hasn’t changed and we will have to evaluate where we are and where we’re going to do that,” said Randolph.

Nicked Lele, which is taken from the first two letters from his given names of Levi and Leland, Randolph knows growing as a person through his experiences in college life will forever remain with him. With all of the accolades of being a college athlete he also experienced pain and suffering away from college. Last year, his best friend was killed by a drunk driver. His former schoolmate, Dezmond Dennis, was like a brother to Randolph. The pain of losing a close friend was almost unbearable to understand and accept.

“Losing Dezmond I was frustrated with a lot of things and was challenged spiritually,” said Randolph. “I held in all of my feelings. I was angry. I spoke to our team doctor as I know I wasn’t where I needed to be mentally. After some counseling and time, I finally got through grieving.”

When asked to name his hero, Randolph was quick to answer, “My father. Of the many things I’ve learned from him, those experiences have made me the person I am today. He’s my go-to person.”

Besides continuing to grow physically to accommodate the physical nature of college basketball, Randolph is also known for his long hair and tattoos. His hair is a focal point of many females, as well as, children he helps in numerous basketball camps held throughout the state. He assists in camps geared to underprivileged children.

Randolph has four tattoos, two of which he had in high school. “Only Strong Survive”, “My Family”, “My Strength” and “God’s Gift” are inked on his arms.

“Being strong is what it takes in life, my family is my circle, my family keeps me strong and I consider basketball as a present,” explained Randolph of his tattoos. “Everybody has a karma about them.”

Alabama’s early game schedule was considered very strong as the Tide went on to face eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament. Randolph looked at Michigan State and Florida as his favorites during March Madness.

Randolph has a hidden talent of being able to ride a unicycle. He also has a little known desire to become a corporate lawyer. He’s contemplating the idea of attending law school after he finishes his senior season for the Tide next year. From there, a step into the NBA is always possible, which is a long way from those years as a wide-eyed and impressionable ball boy.

“My competitive nature allows me to strive to do what I want in my future. Each day I wake up I have a goal,” said Randolph.

Bob Labbe
Madison Weekly News
bob0873@yahoo.com