Last Tuesday was the kind of night that was so special it made Dick Vitale's infectious brand of enthusiastic analysis seem modest.

Three of the best freshmen we've seen in quite some time were on display and the trio -- buoyed by the moment, rather than intimidated by it -- delivered in a way that couldn't have been expected.

But early this season, the one freshman truly delivering on the hype is Kentucky's frontcourt dynamo, Julius Randle. He won't turn 19 until after Thanksgiving, but the frosh from Dallas is already showing the type of talent to potentially unseat Andrew Wiggins as the top NBA prospect of 2014.

In his first game as a college player, Randle scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in just 26 minutes against UNC Asheville. He was a bucket away from tying the Wildcats' record for most points in a debut and two rebounds away from the best start on the glass.

Against Michigan State's frontcourt, which is arguably the best in the nation, Randle bulldozed his way to 27 points and 13 rebounds, showing versatility as a scorer, passer and driver.

Through four games, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound big man is averaging 20.5 points and 14.3 rebounds. He is making 61.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and proved against a long Spartans front line that he can score in a variety of ways and finish with contact. Foul him, and he can make you pay. To start the year, he got to the free throw line 13, 14, and 15 times and is shooting almost 70 percent from the stripe.

For a burly forward to move the way Randle does prompted ESPN analyst Jay Williams to draw the most favorable comparison of all: LeBron James. As far-fetched as that seems, only a few 18-year-olds are capable of dominating the way Randle has started his collegiate career.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo offered a different comparison after seeing Randle up close. "He's got a little Chris Webber in him," said Izzo, invoking the former Michigan and NBA-great forward who excelled inside and out.

"What I like is he gritted his teeth, was ornery and nasty, and he wanted to put them on his shoulders," said Izzo.

Branden Dawson, who had the unenvious task of trying to guard Randle, told SI's Michael Rosenberg, "I'm sore all around ... He's strong. I didn't really think he was that strong. He is just tough."

Dawson likely won't be the only one smarting after banging with Randle in the post this season. It's clear Randle has the physical gifts and basketball talent to be a top pick in next year's draft -- he ranks either No. 2 or No. 3 in recent mock drafts on, CBS Sports and -- and stands as one of the select few who could outshine the much ballyhooed Wiggins in 2013-14.