Every other star player may be leaving the roster of the Kentucky Wildcats, but Willie Cauley-Stein says that he plans to stay. Most players on the Kentucky roster will be departing for the NBA after only their freshman year, but he plans to stay to at least become a junior.
He is a part of a Kentucky team that made it to the national championship, although they lost to UConn, who won both the men’s and the women’s championship, doing so for the second time, and they are the only team that has ever achieved that honor.
Willie Cauley-Stein was not able to play in the 2014 national championship game, and perhaps wants another shot with a different group of supporting players. The center for the Wildcats was injured during the game against their rivals Louisville in one of the key Sweet 16 match-ups, preventing him from playing in the rest of the tournament.
The Wildcats were able to upset both the Michigan Wolverines and the Wisconsin Badgers, but with Cauley-Stein, the Huskies were simply too much to overcome. During the championship game, there were also rumors about John Calipari heading to coach the Lakers, but he quickly denied the rumors.
I'm proud to say I'm coming back for my junior year. I still have an empty spot to fulfill and in no rush to leave the best fans in the USA!
— Willie Cauley-Stein (@THEwillieCS15) April 14, 2014
Speaking on his decision to return to Kentucky, Cauley-Stein said “I want to come back and have a chance to win a national championship, while also getting closer to earning my degree. Being at the Final Four this year was special, but not being able to help my teammates on the floor was tough. I look forward to helping us get back there next year, while playing in front of the best fans in the nation.”
While he did not show up in the record books in the same way that players such as Aaron Harrison or Julius Randle did, over the course of his sophomore season, Wilile Cauley-Stein averaged 7 points and 6.2 rebounds.
He was a former high school wide receiver who has drawn comparisons to Tyson Chandler. He was projected to go in the first round of the NBA draft based on his size and athleticism, but could even help his draft prospect by another year with Kentucky.
In addition to the return of Willie Cauley-Stein, the two players that stepped up in his absence during the tournament, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee, will also be returning in the fall.
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