Willie Cauley



Status: UK signee
C | 6-10 | 215
High school: Olathe Northwest
Hometown: Olathe, Kan.

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What he brings: Front-court depth. As Kentucky kept missing out (or giving up) on blue-chip forwards such as Anthony Bennett, Amile Jefferson and Devonta Pollard, the commitment of Cauley-Stein looked more and more important. Though Calipari said last week he was considering Cauley-Stein as a starter, the more likely starting rotation will be Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Kyle Wiltjer. Cauley-Stein’s athleticism and shot-blocking skills should come in handy off the bench.

Question mark: How much can he contribute? With a likely front-court trio including two freshmen and a sophomore who struggled defensively last season, foul trouble could be a recurring problem in 2012-13. Cauley-Stein will be the first option off the bench should one of UK’s bigs get in early trouble, and he’ll need to make the most of the minutes he gets. He had a reputation for disappearing at times in high school, something he can’t afford to do next season.

One-and-done? Probably not. Over the last four NBA Drafts, 31 of the 33 one-and-dones have been top-20 recruits coming out of high school. Eric Bledsoe and Marshall star Hassan Whiteside are the only exceptions, and Cauley-Stein won’t get the opportunity to play as much as those two did as freshmen. Early predictions peg Cauley-Stein as a three- or four-year player at Kentucky.

“I felt going to Kentucky, I’ll be playing against the best in the nation. I’ll get better and have a chance to go (to the NBA) early. That was a big thing.”

– Willie Cauley-Stein (to Herald-Leader)

Tracking Cauley-Stein

Date Opponent W/L Stats
Dec. 8 Oak Park (Mo.) W 16 pts
Dec. 9 Lee’s Summit W Stats unavailable
Dec. 10 Lawrence W 13 pts, 9 rebs, 5 blks
Dec. 13 Center Senior W 16 pts
Dec. 17 Rockhurst W 9 pts, 6 rebs
Jan. 6 At Lawrence W 12 pts
Jan. 10 Shawnee Mission West W 4 pts
Jan. 13 Lawrence Free W 12 pts
Jan. 19 Topeka Seaman W 10 pts
Jan. 20 Turner W 10 pts
Jan. 21 Blue Valley Northwest L 9 pts
Jan. 27 At Mill Valley W 18 pts, 18 rebs
Jan. 31 At Shawnee Mission East W 16 pts, 10 rebs
Feb. 3 Shawnee Mission Northwest W 8 pts
Feb. 7 At SM North W 10 pts
Feb. 10 At Olathe East W 10 pts, 10 rebs
Feb. 14 Leavenworth W 14 pts
Feb. 17 Olathe South W 10 pts
Feb. 21 At SM South