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Wille Cauley-Reactions

The man formerly known as the Blonde Blocker is returning for his junior campaign and the folks around Big Blue Nation couldn’t be more excited. Willie brings some big time athleticism and experience to a team that has the potential to be one of the tallest ever assembled. Here’s what folks around the nation had to say about the tweet that has Lexington fired up for 2015.

Jeff Eisenburg [Willie Cauley-Stein’s surprise return bolsters already strong Kentucky frontcourt]

The last image of Willie Cauley-Stein on the Kentucky bench won’t be with an electric blue flower-print button-down shirt underneath his jersey.


Whereas Harrell’s return shores up a position of weakness for Louisville, Cauley-Stein’s return further bolsters a position of strength for Kentucky. Between Cauley-Stein, sophomore-to-be Marcus Lee and incoming freshmen Karl Towns and Trey Lyles, Kentucky will have at least four former McDonald’s All-Americans 6-foot-9 and taller next season. And the frontcourt would only get stronger if 7-foot freshman Dakari Johnson and 6-foot-8 sophomore Alex Poythress were also to come back.

Larry Vaught [Willie Cauley-Stein said he enjoyed college, so he’s staying at UK to win a national title]

“I was as convinced as everyone that Willie was going pro, but when I got the news he was 100 percent coming back I was as shocked as anybody,” Lemond said. “Reporters have sources that you know you can believe 100 percent and this was one. That’s why I was not afraid to say he was going to have good news for Kentucky fans.”

Cauley-Stein has 166 blocks in his career, which ranks sixth all-time in program history. He averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this year and will give Calipari and UK the rim protector it missed after he was hurt this season. It will also give Calipari at least one veteran leader – and perhaps send a message to sophomore Alex Poythress, who is not projected to go nearly as high in the draft as Cauley-Stein was, to also return.

Matt Norlander [Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein tweets he’ll be back for jr. year]

This is big news for Kentucky. Cauley-Stein becomes the latest potential lottery pick to opt out of heading to the NBA, instead choosing to stay the course as an undergrad.

Kentucky, who we already put at No. 7 in our Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one), might well be considered a preseason top five team in many outlets by next fall. Cauley-Stein is one of the few true centers in college hoops. He was felled in the Sweet 16 by a foot injury that kept him out for the remainder of Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament run.


What was your reaction when the news broke a few short hours ago? Mine was the realization that it’s going to be another long summer waiting for basketball to return.

Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

48 Comments for Wille Cauley-Reactions

  1. Shelbyjoe
    9:36 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I love willie. If he spends the summer working on free throws and a couple post moves, not only will it help his team immrnsely, but it could make him a lottery pick. So glad he’s returning.

  2. NKY_UK_fan
    9:36 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    How in the world are there enough minutes for all of these guys? Has to mean Dakari is gone, right? WCS didn’t even start towards the latter part of the season. Don’t get me wrong. I’m pumped he’s coming back and it’s a helluva problem for UK to have!

    • Hayley's quadriceps
      9:43 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      WCS didn’t start because if he got a couple early fouls, it threw him off for the whole game.

  3. Reality
    9:39 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    No way we have enough minutes for four 5 star centers. A couple will likely leave.

    • Slow down....
      9:48 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink


    • LA
      10:11 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      willy and dakari will split time at the 5. the rest of the bigs will play the 4 and 3. plenty of minutes in a two deep rotation at each position. relax we don’t got 5 centers.

  4. NKY_UK_fan
    9:42 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Poor Marcus Lee. Has to be hating this.

    • Nick
      9:45 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      I’m sure Marcus Lee already knew about it.

    • stevieb
      9:59 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      If Cal expands the rotation the minutes will be fine. We should go 9 deep every game. If Willie gets 20 minutes a game he’ll be happy. I bet Johnson is the same way. Towns and Lee can split 40 minutes and Poythress and Lyles, split 40. We can squeeze Willis in for about 7 minutes per game somewhere.

  5. Carol
    9:45 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    AWESOME! My favorite player coming back next year! Hope he is a starter ALL year this year!

  6. Just maybe says....
    9:46 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    ..Cal will play Willie at the 4 some next year. I think Johnson is going, and Lee will be a back-up next year and get plenty of playing time. No doubt Townes will play some 3, 4, and 5 at times next year as well. The front line will be very strong again next season.

    • Derp
      9:55 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      That’s ridiculous… WCS will never play the 4

    • Simple
      10:36 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Lee backs up Willie at the 5. Towns and Lyles split minutes at the four. Adjust based on fouls. Dakari likely goes pro now.

  7. Lisa
    9:47 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Willie SHOULD be the STARTER that is picked ABOVE ALL OTHERS, because he has more experience, athleticism, and he gave us another year! 3 years to be exact! He deserves special treatment!

    • crazycatfan
      10:02 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Special Treatment Indeed!!! Royalty, as far as the BBN is concerned!!! Love that guy!!!

  8. Catsfan12345
    9:48 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Do you think these players are only worried about minutes?? No. They are worried about playing the best players at their position day in and day out. Getting better and better. Preparing themselves for the future. That is kentucky basketball. They want to be the best and compete for championships.

    • Whatever
      10:51 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      You’re on drugs if you believe that

    • Derp
      11:49 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      ^ I’m on drugs and I don’t believe that

  9. Louisville Fans
    9:49 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink


    9:52 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    AWESOME!!!! now if the Harrison twins would just follow his lead……

  11. John Ellis
    9:52 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    An-ti-ci-PA-tion. Willie has the largest upside of any player in the country. He’s shown at times great offensive potential, he can guard any position on the floor – very rare for a 7 footer, he can lock down the interior (now he can pick up Davis’ ability to control the block to a teammate), he needs a hook and a little short jump shot and he could be the #1 pick. And he may not even start.

  12. Orangello
    9:57 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t know if the players ever read these comment sections, but if you read this WCS….THANK YOU! I’m freain STOKED!!

  13. BNClay
    9:58 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    What kinda season would he have to have to seriously challenge the career blocks record?

  14. bosshogg24
    9:59 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Willie could be the best center in the nation next year! He needs to add a new shot and improve his foul shooting to 70%, he has six months to get this done!

  15. JackB
    10:05 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    If Pitino has one trait that I would like Cal to learn, it is how to play 9-10 guys effectively. Because next year, playing 7 plus 1 when foul trouble requires it like the last 4 season won’t do it, especially if DJ returns. Assuming that happens, Cal has 3 positions to play 5 outstanding player in the frontcourt. I hope he can do it and we don’t lose someone just because of the numbers. If the Harrisons return, that means he will need to play 9 or 10 players (don’t forget DH). I hope he can figure out how to do it – because he hasn’t yet.

    • really?
      10:21 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      JackB, Pitino also plays 9-10 guys that aren’t rated nearly as high as Cal. He has to play that many because he plays up-tempo, pressure defense that requires a lot of energy from his players. Also, Cal doesn’t play 9-10 guys because he rarely has the guys he needs to play the style he desires. I think I remember a team from 2009-2010 that had a 9-10 man rotation. He did just fine. With so many players leaving for the draft early year in and year out, he has no choice but to play 6-7 players a year because typically that is what he has left that can excell at the level he demands. This year players are returning. “IF Pitino has one trait that I would like Cal to learn, it is how to play 9-10 guys effectively.” Ha! worked well in the Sweet16…. Cal knows what he is doing. I wish he would not inherit any trait from any coach and be Cal. DONE!

  16. Ace
    10:06 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Hope Dakari comes back. Willie can play the four some but Towns will play more of the three and four along with Poythress. As far as Lee is concerned, he is a three to four year player that could be the sixth or seventh man.

    If Dakari comes back, this will no doubt be the tallest team ever to play at UK. I hope Dakari comes back as I think he will be a top ten pick the following year.

    We need three more to say they are coming back, the twins and Dakari.

    • got it
      10:42 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      So what you’re saying is you hope Dakari comes back.

    • Derp
      11:51 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Willie will never… NEVER play the four. It will be Willie at the 5 and Towns at the four… Guaranteed

  17. Montrezl
    10:11 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Losing to UK twice this year was bad nuff, yo Willie why u gotta steal my thunder, dawg?

  18. Lowell Cantrell
    10:13 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Fantastic! Get the twins and Johnson back and next year should be 40-0 with #9 in lex.

    • Whatever
      10:53 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Some fools never learn…..

  19. Bob the Replier
    10:16 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Well crap, I was so looking forward to Pat Forde’s next I hate Cal’s One and Done article.

  20. stevieb
    10:17 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    As great as this is, guard play wins Championships. We need the twins more than anything.

      10:25 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

      Yep, agreed. Not sure Willie can make the difference between winning or not winning a title alone. But with both him and the twins, that’s the makeup of a great team (with everyone else, obviously). That said, him coming back is huge.

    • stevieb
      10:39 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink


  21. JQ
    10:21 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Well damn the luck they called me crazy when I suggested he would come back! Here is another opportunity the Harrisons will be back!

  22. CRP
    10:26 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    1-7????? Crap

  23. Ride of the ValKilmer
    10:43 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    Let’s just imagine that we only lose James and Julius to the NBA, while everyone else returns. That gives us TWELVE players that can legitimately ball (ten of whom could easily be considered starters). An. Harrison, Aa. Harrison, Ullis, Hawkins, Booker, Poythress, Lyles, Towns, Willis, Lee, Johnson, and Cauley-Stein. If, and it’s a pretty decently sized if, those are our scholarship players for next year, we might find a new use for those 40-0 shirts.

  24. Alan
    10:47 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    As a big WCS fan I am excited that he’ll be sticking around for another year. He’s been a favorite of mine from this years team. I think he;ll shine brighter next season.

  25. Louisville1Cal6
    10:58 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    SOOO glad WCS is back! I think Johnson will go pro with Randle & Young now. If not, we’re 3 deep at center & 3 deep at power forward. NBA front court all day lol We could play Willie/Johnson primarily at the 5 & use Towns/Lyles/Lee at the 4, & Poythress/Willis at the 3.

  26. GoBigBlueSusieQ
    11:22 pm April 14, 2014 Permalink

    We need tshirts that say, “We’re holding on to our Willie!”

    • somerset bill
      12:06 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

      and then if johnson stays…

      seriously though, we may soon be the school with the most lottery picks to return for another year.

  27. TylerH
    9:24 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

    If Randle and Young are the the only ones to leave this year imagine the practices that will be going on in the Craft Center. NBA coaches may will come to watch just out of jealousy.

  28. TylerH
    9:26 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Sorry, “want” to come watch

  29. TylerH
    9:31 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

    One of the best things that could come out the twins returning, is that we would be able to go big or small at guard depending on the matchups’.

  30. bung
    9:44 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

    glad Willie is back…work on the outlet pass after a def rebound…as a team we need more assists, shooters, and fast break baskets from defensive rebounds…

  31. Megan
    10:16 am April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Why isn’t Willie practicing free throws right now?