Jock Landale’s breakthrough season raises hopes for St Mary’s

In his freshman year of high school, while other future college basketball players were honing their skills and planning games in the gym, Jock Landale was playing a pick-up ball on a small dirt half-court with a ragged backboard and no net. was playing.

At high school in Randale’s native Australia, ninth graders were required to spend a year in the mountains, learning team building and outdoor survival skills. He wasn’t averse to long hikes and steep climbs, nor was he particularly excited by the primitive basketball environment.

“It was a pretty sticky situation,” Rundale said. “We were skating and skating, and some days it was raining and muddy.

Randale can laugh at that memory now, in the midst of his break season at St. Mary’s College. He’s the main reason Gales will go 15-1 and rank 21st nationally in Saturday night’s WCC showdown against No. 5 Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington.

Randale is a 6-foot-11 junior who leads the St. Mary’s in scoring (17.8 points per game) and rebounding (9.7). He also tops the WCC, where he ranks eighth all-American in field goal percentage with 64.2%.

But numbers alone don’t convey Randale’s influence. Consider last week’s win against BYU. This time, he showed fluid footwork and clever low-post moves in an old-fashioned duel with Cougars center Eric Mika.

Randale scored on jump hooks, traffic layups and midrange jumpers (26 total points). He went left, he went right. he used both hands When he double-teamed BYU, he hit a deft pass, grabbed nine rebounds, and had a career-high six assists.

The St. Mary’s players weren’t really surprised. That’s because Randale has been in form since scoring 33 points in the Nov. 11 opener and the first start of his college career against Nevada.

“He’s the stud of the year,” teammate Joe Lahon said.

Six years ago, Randale didn’t seem like a Division I player to watch. He started playing basketball at the age of seven, but became disillusioned and gave up for two years before disappearing into the Victorian Alps with his classmates at Geelong Grammar School in Corio, Victoria.

They lived in huts, cut their own wood for heating, and lived without mobile phones or computers. Imagine. Randale took four to five days a week in traditional classes, after which she wandered around to get a different kind of education.

This included winding hikes and at least one exhausting climb to Mount Buller, which stands at over 5,900 feet. Rundale remembered crawling up the steep slopes of the mountain on all fours.

“It was crazy,” he said. “My high school tries to teach us to rely on teams, so we do a lot of team building. I’ll tell you, but it was hard.”

Randale was 5’11” at the start of his freshman year, but soon underwent what he called a “ridiculous” growth spurt. This added size and casual game on dirt courts convinced him to give basketball a new whirlwind.

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