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DALLAS When Kentucky advanced to the Final Four on Sunday, it meant that Julius Randle was coming home.

'We've just got a tough group of guys, that was the biggest thing,' Randle said. 'We never let criticism get to us.'

At 6'-9', Randle played high school basketball at Prestonwood Christian Academy and is no stranger to winning.

One year ago, he led his school to the TAPPS 5A State Championship, his third in four years.

Having the Final Four in North Texas means Carolyn Kyles' son will be home for the weekend.

'It's going to be an amazing moment for everyone the team and all the family,' Kyles said. 'What Julius has told me about coming back home to play in the Final Four, he's so excited. He's overjoyed.'

So overjoyed that this week culminates a dream he had of playing in Arlington.

Two years ago he tweeted this: 'In 2014, I want to win a national championship in Dallas in front of all my family and friends.'

'He had that dream,' Kyles said. 'How amazing his dream has come true.'

Kyles, who played college basketball at UTA, raised Randle as a single mother and couldn't be prouder of what her 19-year-old son has accomplished.

'Julius is a strong kid and that's how I raised him to be,' Kyles said. 'As Jimmy V said: 'Don't give up, never give up,' and that's what I tell him.'

And to add to this weekend's homecoming, Julius' 79-year-old grandmother will be watching him play in person for the first time in his collegiate career.

'This is going to be so amazing for her to see him play,' Kyles said.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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