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Willie Cauley-Stein Is Rising in the Rankings

As we watch the season unfold, one can’t help but also think about the future. Especially in the Calipari era at Kentucky, the next step for these Freshmen players is always on our minds. We know that Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are top prospects, but recently it has become clear that Willie Cauley-Stein is as well. How big of a prospect is he? Well according to Adam Zagoria, Cauley-Stein is a contender for the #1 pick in the Draft. In his overview of Shabazz Muhammad’s first game, Zagoria says that Cauley-Stein is being considered for the top selection, along with Shabazz, Cody Zeller, Nerlens Noel and Isaiah Austin.

This is a pretty amazing leap for Cauley-Stein, who was projected around #40 in his high school class’s rankings. Now after a few weeks of practice, and a couple of games (one of which he played less than 10 minutes), he is a top pick contender. #KentuckyEffect

Article written by Matt Jones

33 Comments for Willie Cauley-Stein Is Rising in the Rankings

  1. reedwizard
    2:19 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    I really see WCS staying another year. He’s big, long and mobile and with a better offensive game, but like Archie said, he’s a different dude. He seems to need a lot of work on the defensive end with little natural instincts here. Of course, the draft is so weak this year, he may be a top 10 pick without any more improvement. Who knows. Either way, best of luck Willie!

  2. FlashOfBlue
    2:19 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink


  3. beezer
    2:20 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    This would make the Daniel Orton version of the Kentucky Effect seem like nothing. I can’t even believe WCS is being mentioned as a first rounder at this point, let alone as a potential #1 pick. Of course, IT’S RIDICULOUS, but this is what Cal does. Pretty damn amazing.

  4. Former NBA GM
    2:22 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    I was a fool for drafting WCS at the #1 pick.

  5. Kentucky effect
    2:25 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s hope it does not detract from some players not panning out like some of the Duke busts from back in the day.

  6. Not Nerlens
    2:27 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    3 – Agree. This is the Kentucky Effect to the absolute extreme. There is no scenario where WCS would even be in the first round of any mock draft had he gone to any other school in the country.

  7. jg
    2:28 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    I still haven’t figured out the mentality of NBA scouts. They certainly base such a major decision on a small amount of information. Shabazz has already slipped because of one game and WCS has gone from a late first rounder to early second rounder to number 1 pick based on just 3 games (2 against inferior competition and 1 in which he barely played)???

  8. WCS only does tats with organic soy ink.

  9. Laker Cat 18
    2:35 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    It looks like Point Guard University is starting to add another department.

  10. SL
    2:37 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Has the ability to go early, but will probably end up like Daniel Orton. Collecting a check to ride the pine.

  11. Kneel
    2:37 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Easy to see, since WCS is perhaps the most athletic 7 footer I’ve seen in a long long time.

  12. fireant
    2:44 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    He needs two years minimum in college. Otherwise he will get chewed up and spit out by the NBA. WCS has a lot of raw talent but he needs a couple of years to develop which will dramatically increase how long he could last in the league. Currently his defense is awful. However he is quick, atheletic, long, and has a decent shot. If Maryland and Duke can bring out his weaknesses what do you think the bigs in the NBA will do to him. Potential doesn’t equal development.

  13. Somervillain
    2:55 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    He doesn’t need two years of college. He doesn’t need any years of college other than to show his future employers his potential. Potential doesn’t need to equal development. The NBA can handle the development part. They are professionals. WCS is extremely athletic and seems to be scraping the surface of his potential. I’m not saying he will go that high, but he obviously has the talent to be very very good. I seem to remember a quote from him about the potential of being one-and-done being one of the attractions of UK. Enjoy him while he’s here, because it won’t be long. Which, is cool with me. I really enjoyed Davis’ and MKG’s and Wall’s and Bledsoe’s and Teague’s and Cousins’ and Knight’s and even Orton’s short stays. Not so much Enes’. Am I missing anyone?

  14. Oogie
    2:57 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    People keep saying how great our 2013 class is… and it is… but whether it is championship caliber will ultimately depend on what happens with the big guys. If WCS and Alex both leave, and Randle goes elsewhere, it could get dicey. But I’m sure Cal will figure it out one way or another.

  15. TShlew
    2:57 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Well let’s just compare him to the current projected #1 overall pick, Nerlens Noel.

    WCS is taller than Noel.

    WCS is stronger than Noel.

    WCS is faster than Noel.

    WCS is a better shooter than Noel.

    WCS has more skill under the basket than Noel.

    WCS has hands comparable to, if not better than Noel.

    So, could WCS conceivably be a better player in the NBA than Noel? You tell me.

  16. Wildcat8
    3:01 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Apparently anybody could be an nba scout now. Anybody who has truely played basketball or understands how to use skill and ability on the court would know that WCS is no where near ready to be in the nba. Yeah potential is there but he still hasn’t developed a big mans game yet. And to be considered a number 1 pick is just plan ridiculous! This has got to be a ploy to get the nba dreams into the heads of our players especially at this early stage. Let them play the college season first then talk nba after it, but as of right now WCS is not a number one pick!

  17. Mike
    3:06 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    @7 you consider maryland inferior competition?

  18. Mike
    3:09 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    @15 I see your point, but for comparisons’ sake I will say that Noel has better footwork around the basket and much better hops.

  19. Mattd
    3:09 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    @ 16. I’m not saying that WCS (his nickname should be, phonetically, “wicks”) will be or should be the number one selection, however, I think you are wrong when you say that for him to be considered a number one pick is ridiculous. We often think that number 1 pick correlates to best player right now. Clearly WCS is not the best player right now, and likely wont be at seasons end. The question facing NBA GMs is simply, do we want someone who is Good not great with the potential to be great, or do we take a shabazz who is very good, but his ceiling is ‘very good’. GMs dont draft based upon what a player is as much as what they can become. Rarely you have a player like AD who is the best player and also has a ceiling that hes not even begun to approach. I could definately see WCS being a top 5 pick.

  20. ukbstith
    3:18 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    #1 picks are players that come in and help right away. If a GM picks someone that needs several years to develop with a first pick, they may as well pack it in. And the NBA doesn’t develop players as well as you think they do. It’s easy for players that aren’t mostly ready to slip through the cracks and never reach full potential, because someone’s always ahead of them and it’s tough to get minutes. He plays 10 minutes a game and he’s ready for the NBA?

  21. Jimmy Hotsauce
    3:22 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Surprising to hear him in the conversation as top pick but certainly can see why. He is miles ahead of where we all believed him to be and if he were to continue to improve in the quantum leaps he has to this point, then yes he may very well be the best big with the most upside

    That’s all it takes in the modern day NBA draft

    Gonna be exciting to watch him grow. Potential Potential Potential

  22. Biglaw Dawgin'
    3:28 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve been saying he’s better than Noel every since I saw the first game. I wouldn’t have guessed #1 pick though. I was thinking more like top 6 or 7.

    15 – right on most of those points. I think Noel has better defensive and rebounding skills at this point.

  23. JustSayin
    3:30 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    I really wish KSR would stop these kinds of posts and subsequent threads. Can we PLEASE just enjoy our players and not worry or discuss them leaving until the season is OVER atleast?

  24. Dr. Mantis Taboggin
    3:35 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    His nickname should be “the Matador” because all he does his let the man he’s guarding go right by him. He needs another year.

  25. mrsqueezly
    3:41 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    He reminds me of a more athletic Tim Duncan

  26. JBR
    3:45 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    23 I agree 100%. With all of our FORMER guys in the NBA now, I still cannot watch that garbage.

    And I was surprised that so many felt the same way I did when I read this…this is absolutely ridiculous to project a guy like WCS at even sniffing a lottery pick at this point. This is why the NBA should move to a higher age limitation on players entering the draft. All of the teams draft mostly on potential because they are afraid they may miss out on something special. The quality of play in the NBA has deteriorated over the years, and this early draft stuff is partly to blame.

    No doubt it is good for us at UK getting these recruits, but it is a flawed system.

  27. Some Guy
    4:28 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Can you say Andre Drummond. He was terrible and still got drafted 9th. Some said he could have gone top 3. I think WCS has a higher up side than Drummond.

    4:30 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink


  29. A boy from the hood
    4:34 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Regardless of where he is picked in the draft, Cauley Stein will always be overshadowed by his fabulous work in the 1990’s drama “Boyz From the Hood” where he played Furious Styles, the father of Tre. (look him up)

  30. Johnjuan
    4:43 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    He got in maybe 5 mins against Duke and now he’s a contender for #1 in the draft. Come on Matt! Zagora knew he’d get hits with this comment.

  31. Wcs
    4:52 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Zagoria please stop the Ricky P. statements. I am not a first round pick let alone worthy of the number one. Don’t turn me into a big time bust. Have you seen me play really! And Zagoria please write another article praising BBN fans and we will give you all the hits in the world. Cause truly this one is foolish.

  32. Dumb
    5:11 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who doesn’t think Cauley-stein is at least a top 20 pick has no eye for talent. That’s why these guys are nba scouts and you are not

  33. Dumb
    5:12 pm November 20, 2012 Permalink

    31… Have you seen him play?