Ms. Thompson got you more acquainted with Willie Cauley as a basketball player a little earlier, but ESPN did the job of introducing him to the world as a person with this great writeup about the newest Kentucky commit. It’s pretty lengthy so I’ll hit on some of the highlights, but it’s definitely worth checking out to get yourself acquainted with the big man.
The decision to pick Kentucky was one ESPN says represents a “sign of growth” for Cauley, who spent much of his time growing up simply trying not to stand out too much, although that was tough for a kid that hit 6’6″ at age fourteen while living in a town of 800 people. Something tells me that, given his roots as a low-key guy in an even lower-key town, Kentucky fans will take a little getting used to for Cauley, but he sounds ready for the experience.
Former Kansas City Chief Will Shields, who Cauley moved to live with after playing with Shields’ son on his AAU team, has played the role of father figure for Cauley for the past couple of years. The move to the Kansas City suburbs provided the structure Cauley needed to get his grades in order and the exposure that led to him becoming a big-time recruit. Perhaps most importantly, it also helped him grow as a person under the tutelage of Shields, who Cauley referred to simply as “a very wise dude.”
The article also touches on Cauley’s football career, one which this past Friday included a block that apparently brought out some spirited applause from Coach Cal, and a 57-yard touchdown catch which helped put him over 1,100 receiving yards through nine games on the season. That’s good enough to lead his class in the state of Kansas in receiving, and, if it hasn’t happened by now, should lead to a call from Joker Phillips. He probably needs Cauley worse than Cal does, anyway, but I digress. His football background is an exciting bonus, though, as not only did his coach say that it improves his athleticism, but the toughness that he’s developed through football should also help keep him from getting pushed around as much as many freshman big men.
The ESPN profile is the most in-depth look at Cauley that I’ve seen, and if you’re interested in getting to know him better then I highly recommend it. Conversely, if you’re one of the internet ‘scouts’ who somehow aren’t excited about the Cats’ getting a commitment from an athletic, tough seven-footer who is still improving, a commitment that John Calipari made a special trip to Kansas for a football game to help secure, then I don’t suppose I have anything for you.