As a sophomore, Willie Cauley-Stein should be well acclimated into the John Calipari system, and thriving in SEC play. However, the past two games Cauley Stein has a combined total of two (yes, just two) points. Against Arkansas, he played a meager 18 minutes after being plagued with foul trouble nearly the entire game, and took just two shots. Yesterday, Willie was 0-5 against Tennessee in 19 minutes of play and fouls weren’t the issue, as the big man just faded into the background of this very talented Kentucky team. You may say: “well he’s not scoring, but is the 7’0 big man still rebounding?” Answer: no, not really. Against Arkansas Cauley-Stein only brought down six boards, and against UT he only had three, his lowest total since the Baylor game.
While Calipari said following Tuesday’s loss Cauley-Stein came into practice like an animal and was more than ready to tear apart the court on Saturday, that just wasn’t the case. There is obviously a disconnect from WCS in practice and WCS in games of late. Luckily, other big men for UK have stepped up like Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress, and the guard play has been solid for the boys in blue. Cauley-Stein’s point/rebound average has dropped down to eight and seven a game, which are still stout, but a far cry from his play earlier this season.
Inconsistent play is something Wildcats fans are used to when it comes to the big man, but many had hoped for stronger results as this season progressed. In the biggest games of the season for Kentucky, WCS has disappeared. Five points against Michigan State. Eight points against Baylor. Two points against Louisville, and now into conference play, Willie has not been able to back up his consecutive double-digit performances against MSU and Vandy. Against a tough defensive squad like Texas A&M on Tuesday, Cauley-Stein will need to have a huge turn around from the past week to play effectively.
Where do you envision Cauley-Stein fitting in to this loaded roster? Why have his results been underwhelming of late? Discuss.