Zach Randolph (born July 16, 1981 in Marion, Indiana) is a player in the National Basketball Association. He currently plays for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Zach Randolph grew up in Marion, Indiana and attended Marion High School. As a sophomore he helped lead the Marion Giants to the class 4A championship game. As a senior, he again led his team to the state championship game in which they won bring Marion High School its seventh state basketball championship. He finished second in Indiana's 'Mr. Basketball' voting that year &mash; closely behind Jared Jeffries, who coincidentally played for the team that the Giants beat in the state championship game that year.
As a senior, Zach agreed to attend and play basketball for the Michigan State University Spartans. After his freshman season, he decided that he was ready to go professional and entered the NBA Draft.
He was drafted by the Blazers in the 1st round (19th overall) in 2001. He plays the power forward position and has talent, size, mobility, and good rebounding skills. In 2004 he won the NBA's Most Improved Player award, after which he signed a 6-year, 84-million dollar deal with the Blazers.
While Randolph has proven himself as a talented scorer and rebounder, he has been somewhat controversial. He is generally regarded as a weak defender and a notoriously poor passer. In addition, he sucker-punched teammate Ruben Patterson in the face during a practice scuffle in 2003, an act which earned him a two-game suspension (and caused Patterson to miss much of the rest of the season). He also has been cited for underage drinking and driving under the influence of marijuana during his career, and was present when his brother Roger Randolph was involved in a shooting in an Indiana nightclub. After an initial interrogation by police, he was threatened with arrest based on his statement; Randolph gave a second statement and was not charged in the incident. His brother was ultimately convicted in the matter and sentenced to prison.
In 2004-2005, his production dropped somewhat, and although he was injured for much of the season, many critics pointed a finger at Randolph for the Trail Blazers' troubles that year. Several teammates complained that Randolph was a ball hog, and Randolph had several arguments with Maurice Cheeks over his on-the-court actions. Late during the season, Randolph announced that he would miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury; he later had microfracture surgery on the injured knee.