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Kenny Payne says Willie can be an All-Star, compares him to John Wall

Willie Cauley-Stein will have his first workout with the New York Knicks today and there’s been some talk around NBA draft circles that Phil Jackson and the Knicks are very high on the former Kentucky big man at No. 4. Cauley-Stein is exactly what the Knicks need: an inside presence who can bring instant defense to a team with absolutely no defense.

The New York Post had a story this morning saying that very same thing, plus some high praise from Cauley-Stein’s former coach, Kenny Payne. Payne told The Post, “Very rarely do you find 7-1 guys with his size and length who can move the way he moves. Not quite at his level, but he’s John Wall-ish at 7-1. That kind of speed and athleticism. When you have a kid like that, the potential is there, talent is there. It’s just getting it where it’s shown.”

“Willie can end up being an All-Star,” Payne added.

Read more here.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

17 Comments for Kenny Payne says Willie can be an All-Star, compares him to John Wall

  1. bob
    12:13 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    The biggest difference for Willie is desire. Willie has only 10 percent of the desire that John Wall did. When Willie wants to be he’s as good as anyone in the league. Problem is Willie only wants to play balls to the wall about 25 percent of the time.

    • J-Dub421
      12:37 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      I disagree. I don’t think it’s desire, I think it’s a confidence issue.

  2. CatsBy80
    1:09 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    This is high praise… I love WCS, but there were times that he just disappeared out there. Call it confidence, call it lack of desire… call it whatever… but the disappearing act will not work in the NBA. I think Willie knows this and I hope he is up for the challenge. Definitely pulling for him and hope he ends up in Sacramento with boogie.

    • J-Dub421
      1:16 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      Don’t forget, he’s still pretty raw and has only been playing basketball exclusively since he came to UK.

  3. CatsBy80
    1:25 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    that’s fair. I cannot dispute that one bit. Like I said, I’m absolutely pulling for the guy. When he is “on”, man he is exciting to watch. I remember the beginning of the West Virginia game and the intensity he was playing with was incredible. I know that is extremely difficult to maintain, but if he would’ve maintained that intensity all season, we might be looking at another 1-2 punch in the draft. 5th or 6th or wherever Willie falls to still ain’t bad tho.. lol

  4. Vic Stansberry
    1:41 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    Still don’t see it. 2 pts and 5 rebounds in the biggest game of his career. How does that happen if he is so good?

    • J-Dub421
      1:54 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      Everyone has off nights, and it was not Willie’s primary job to score. His job was to stop others from scoring, and he was good at that.

    • inside info2
      2:03 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      it wasnt an “off night”. if you watched him on the court it was like he didn’t know where he was half the time. i’m not saying he was on drugs because i know he wasn’t, but he was ACTING LIKE he was on drugs.

    • J-Dub421
      2:34 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      He held Kaminsky to two points from the floor in the second half.

    • inside info2
      2:43 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      Was that before of after they started switching off and using double coverage?

    • J-Dub421
      2:54 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      I don’t remember Willie needing help as a defender at any point during the season. Kaminsky scored most of his points in the first half when Wisconsin was actively looking to isolate either Booker or Lyles and both were scored on repeatedly. I’m just tired of everyone trying to pin the Wisconsin loss solely on Willie. We won 38 straight games as a team and then lost as a team, everyone gets the glory and everyone shares the blame.

  5. inside info2
    2:02 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    Has anyone let WCS know that it’s ok, the Wisconsin game is over so he can come out of hiding now?

    • inside info2
      3:18 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink


    • inside info2
      3:50 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

      No, I blame Calipari’s subpar coaching that game too. His stall ball was a terrible decision in the last part of the last half.

      And I would never tweet to recruits or players, nor would I post anything in a forum in all caps. I’m not an animal.

    • inside info2
      5:03 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink


  6. That's crazy
    2:56 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    Comparing him to John Wall is a joke. Good luck to him but a lot of kids have moments that make you say “wow!” and he had his fair share, but he also had tons of moments while at UK when you didn’t even know he was playing. When he didn’t have an impact on the game. When could you ever say that about Wall? If it’s his confidence or his desire to be great, then good luck to whoever drafts him. We’ve heard about his desire or his confidence being the problem since he arrived, and it never went away. So either it’s something that he’ll always struggle with and he’ll end up being a solid role player, a sixth or seventh man off of someone’s bench, or he’ll find that confidence or that desire he’s been lacking for the past three yrs and he’ll spontaneously combust on an NBA court somewhere. What do you think’s going to happen?

  7. Vic Stansberry
    5:58 pm June 16, 2015 Permalink

    Best of luck to WCS, want him to succeed but I seriously don’t know why he even played so much late in the year. Marcus Lee and or Derrick Willis would of gotten more than 2 pts and 5 rebounds. Makes you wonder, was our goal to win the championship or get Willie a high draft slot. Seems like I heard Cal talk about the draft in that regards.

    I agree, it was not WCS that lost the game, Wisconsin got to most of the 50 50 balls, definitely stupid to go the stall that Cal loves so much, but he has done that since he has been here. That has almost cost us several games, did contribute to costing us this one. Throw the ball to your best player and get out of the way, quit screwing around. It was a lack of effort, lack of coaching, entire team effort on that game.

    I wonder if Cal would get the ball to LBJ in the finals or screw around, not even get a shot.