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Willie Cauley-Stein tabbed as a freshman ready to blossom

In his weekly look around college basketball, ESPN’s Myron Medcalf focuses on the freshmen in the game he sees with raw talent and bright futures. UK’s Willie Cauley-Stein is one of them:

Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky): The center is fifth in the SEC with an 8.25 block percentage. He’s certainly a work in progress on the offensive end, but his potential is very high. That’s why he’s a projected lottery pick on multiple draft boards. He’s already a defensive talent with a gift for blocking and altering shots. Now he just needs work to become a more consistent and diverse contributor on offense. His defensive tools, however, should help a young Kentucky team as it makes a push toward the NCAA tournament. If the Wildcats crack the field, Cauley-Stein will be an important element of John Calipari’s postseason plans, assuming he’s healthy.

The talent level in this year’s draft is down, which probably means that any of Kentucky’s freshmen could go out and earn a nice paycheck based on their potential, including Cauley-Stein. However, Cal had an interesting comment after the game on Saturday. He hinted that while it may be taking this year’s team longer to figure things out, it may mean that we see some of them return next year:

“It’s their habits and their mindsets that we’re trying to change, and that just takes time. And hopefully it’s going to take a couple years – not one.

To whom is Cal referring? Obviously not Nerlens, the one player Cal says “gets it” and may be the number one pick in the draft. Based on his comments about toughness and committing to change, it may be Alex Poythress, who has improved, but still struggles to put in 40 minutes of intense effort. Archie Goodwin certainly has room to grow, but for some reason, I don’t see him returning. Many analysts have said that Willie Cauley-Stein would best be served by returning for another year and possibly going as a top five pick in the 2014 draft.

Could we actually have sophomores next season?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

33 Comments for Willie Cauley-Stein tabbed as a freshman ready to blossom

  1. Big Mike In the Wood
    3:02 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    This needs a Photoshop of him in daisy

  2. uk1990
    3:10 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    odds of returning – Noel – 0.1%, Goodwin 10%, Poythress 50%, WCS – 75%

  3. MJ4UK
    3:12 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Had some sophomores last year, and that worked out pretty good

  4. bung
    3:13 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Throw in 19 turnovers and you have to think we won’t win many like this…we usually won’t even attempt the fast break so that we don’t have to go into our semi effective half court offense every possession…
    Kentucky vs Texas A&M (02/02/13 – Period 3 00:00)

    Kentucky……………. 7 6 0 – 13
    Texas A&M…………… 5 10 2 – 17

    POINTS IN PAINT 1 2 3 – Tot
    Kentucky……………. 12 12 0 – 24
    Texas A&M…………… 12 24 2 – 38

    2ND CHANCE POINTS 1 2 3 – Tot
    Kentucky……………. 4 3 2 – 9
    Texas A&M…………… 6 8 0 – 14

    FAST BREAK POINTS 1 2 3 – Tot
    Kentucky……………. 5 0 0 – 5
    Texas A&M…………… 6 4 0 – 10

  5. Jacob Adam Brooks
    3:16 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Well according to Marc maggard all 4 freshman harrow and wiltjer have already decided to declare for the draft hahaha

  6. JT
    3:16 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Top 5 pick? Even with another year under his belt, have any of these analysts seen the talent coming into college next year? 2 players that come to mind off the bat that should’ve gone are Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert. Noah woulda been #1, stayed and went #9 the next year. They tagged Hibbert as being the #1 pick after he came back and he fell too. But you could look at it 2 ways, even though their stock went down, Noah got another title and Hibbert got more seasoning in shcool which probably helped them become the players they are now. And some people, not many, actually do benefit from coming back. WCS could still be in the lottery but if he wants more money now he needs to go. But I’d personally love for him to return

  7. G-Unit
    3:28 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink


    New sources saying that UK’s coaches told Jason Hatcher to recommitt to USC to get them off of him and that he has been a silent committ to UK… Apparently he and his mom were worn out from the process and The reason why they showed up at Trinity is because they didnt know mom was gonna make it that public and wanted to make sure their “deal” was still on…

    This shit will be epic if pulled off!!!

  8. Reality Check
    3:28 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Right now, the only player who could make an NBA roster next year is Noel. Poythress, Goodwin, and Willie can all get drafted and then spend all of next year riding around the midwest in buses. Look at Terrance Jones and Lamb. As good as they were last year they’ve been in the D-League a considerable amount of this year. Give these guys another year and maybe Goodwin 2 years to get a jump shot and then their stock is worth something. Of course, having another NBA team coming to campus next year might make them all leave….

  9. Honestly
    3:30 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Honestly, if Poythress and WCS leave they are hurting themselves. The NBA isn’t very patient when it comes to players “figuring it out.” They need to stay and learn how to play more aggressive. They will go to the NBA then go to the D league and never get signed. They’re not even close to being ready. Leaving early will hurt them badly. Look at Lamb and Jones, best decision they made was coming back.

  10. G-Unit
    3:37 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    9 – yet both are in the d-league….

  11. JKUK
    3:39 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    @7 where did you hear this?

  12. Jacob Adam Brooks
    3:44 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Harrow will be in Europe if he declares. Poythress and Archie will bounce around d league for a year but will make rosters … WCS is top 10 if he comes back

  13. theWilkman
    3:44 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone but Noel should probably stay for their own long-term benefit, but when the draft noise picks up and they start to see those dollar signs, don’t be surprised if every one of them leaves. If Orton can get drafted, this crop can as well – doesn’t mean they will eventually make a roster, but has that ever mattered?

  14. theWilkman
    3:46 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    There’s plenty of room next year for WCS and Poythress to stay, so I see the chances of them coming back higher. If Archie returns he may struggle to find playing time next year if he doesn’t develop a jumpshot, so if his stock is high enough he’s gone

  15. jjk
    3:47 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Is WCS any better than Daniel Orten was at this point? I think Orten’s decision & his NBA experience to this point would be something WCS should consider when making his decision to go or stay.

  16. G-Unit
    3:48 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    11- Cant give up sources… but its coming from ppl VERY CLOSE to the UK Football program

  17. Brian
    3:52 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Rivals has been tweeting for the past 24 hours or so that UK could have a huge surprise on signing day…. could this be it??

  18. G-Unit
    3:54 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Kiffin will shit a brick! and Orgeron will take his shirt off…

  19. I like that idea
    4:05 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Yes! Please!

  20. I like that idea
    4:06 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    18. That is FUNNY!!!

  21. jon
    4:20 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Alex poythress isn’t even in the top 60 on the newest mock draft. They do have Nerlens going 2 and willie going 11 and archie going 17.

  22. kingrex
    4:39 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    The idea of going from the resources we have at UK, private planes and lounges to broken down buses and off brand cheetos and soda is what they need to focus on. The rest of us went to college for four years, so they can certainly handle living like kings for 2 or 3 years. Archie and Poythress if they were intelligent would be looking at their Junior years as when they should be thinking about the NBA. One cannot dribble and one you wish would stop dribbling! How can you be a guard who cannot pass and cannot shoot? He would be so good by his junior and senior seasons, but I suspect the system Cal has set up where he already has the next two years signed is causing these kids to bail early. I am sure Lamb and TJ did not envision going up and down if they left after 2 years. It takes time.

  23. emlang08
    4:42 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Charlotte could use Noel to replace Biyombo much more than they could McLemore at SG, they already have Gordon, Henderson and Taylor. Diop and Haywood are not good enough either!

  24. tankercat
    5:00 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    WCS needs another year or two, Archie could use another year to develope an outside shot, Alex needs strength and confidence. Even NN could use another season to develope more of an offense game. Yet I see NN and Archie, maybe even Alex leaving, don’t like it cause I have seen so many other players on other teams that are playing better. If they do go I wish them the very best

  25. Yesterdays
    5:07 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    If WCS can’t hit at least 65% of his Free throws, im not sure I want him back. You could not have him in at end of game if he is constantly bricking FT’s. How many big FT’s did TJones and Davis hit? TJones wasn’t great, but he usually made 1 of 2 and also made some big ones.

  26. Sam Says
    5:11 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Methinks the NBA is wising up. Or they should be. Pretending pre-Cal-at-UK history didn’t exist, they do have precedents in Lamb, Jones, Orton, Teague, and even Patterson and Miller as barometers (who were a junior and senior), that taking freshman or sophs who have great talent doesn’t pay off quickly or maybe even within 5-8 years.

    What we DO know is that Lamb, Jones, Orton, and Teague haven’t had a good ROI on the investment. Patterson is just starting to. Miller is a lot like Poythress (as far as having a reputation of being “soft”), and he was a senior.

    So what GM would authorize his team to take a Poythress? I can’t imagine him going pro at this point.

    Surely, the NBA decision-makers are looking at recent history, and must conclude that it’s a high risk to draft freshman who are not obvious impact players (like Wall or Cousins or Davis or MKG).

    So BECAUSE OF recent history, I do not think we’ll see Poythress go pro. BUT, you can’t teach big and WCS is big. He’s probably gone. Archie? Who would you rather have? Doron or Archie? I’d take Doron all day. Why? He can shoot. And look where he is (D League), and that’s AFTER 2 years of college. So it’s possible Archie stays too.

    But the talent coming in next year may push Archie to go early.

  27. He-Man Woman Hater
    5:20 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    It’s TABBED, Tyler…he’s been TABBED as a freshman ready to blossom. Women.

  28. Orton's Knees
    5:39 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    I’m not sure why everyone thinks the guy I carry around made a mistake, because he wouldn’t have nearly as much money in his account if I went bad at UK instead of while he was already in the NBA like what actually happened. As a matter of fact he might still be setting on your bench with ice on me.

  29. Tennessee Wildcat
    5:43 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    The NBA needs to wise up about this drafting on promise. Charles Barkley has it 100 percent right involving this assessment of our freshmen. They all need to come back. I’m sure some won’t, especially Nerlens and maybe Archie, but Poythress and Cauley-Stein are not ready at all. Especially Cauley-Stein. He could realistically be a three year player, unless he improves quite a bit next year.

  30. CatsCatsCats
    6:23 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    I read the title to this post rather quickly and thought, “WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN STABBED A FRESHMAN??!! OH MY GOSH!!” It’s been a long day.

  31. Electric Bugaloo
    6:54 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    8 lottery picks in 2014 🙂

  32. He-Man Woman Hater
    7:32 pm February 4, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you very much for changing it. Now, go make your husband a sammich and get off the computer…

    11:32 am February 5, 2013 Permalink

    ==== no headband last game (3rd time this season)

    only “one” compression sleeve) an improvement …..

    [email protected]@KING like less of a clown —— NOW, play less like one !

    Bend your knees at the stripe and pray you draw iron …… it

    would be an improvement …….. do you practice ?

    If you’re an NBA lottey pick ………… I’m a monkey’s uncle !

    Willie Frank-N-Stein, if you have an ounce of “pride” in yourself …… act like you play for the UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY ……………. you play like a Jayhawk reject !!

    Wake up ! Dorothy’s NOT in Kansas anymore !

    Whateer you do …….. get it over this year and move on !

    CLOWN UP !