LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - UK coach John Calipari believes the sky's the limit for sophomore 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein. Cal said Cauley-Stein, "has a chance to be one of the better players that I've ever coached."
Last year Cauley-Stein arrived at Kentucky without the credentials of Calipari's other freshmen. He had good potential and his game made strides. Calipari says Cauley-Stein knows just where his game was and where it is now. "He's not delusional at all. Understood how far he had come. Understood how far he needed to go. Understood he could have been a first round draft pick, he knew, but he came back anyway. Because he wasn't delusional."
Cauley Stein missed four games after undergoing a knee procedure in January. Right after he returned Nerlens Noel went down. With the pressure on his game picked up at both ends of the floor. In the last eight games of the season, Cauley-Stein averaged beter than 10 points and eight rebounds. Calipari liked all that, but he liked something off the court even better. "Ya know what I loved the most, hated school (Cauley-Stein). He'd have told ya at the beginning of the year 'I hate school.' And I appreciate an honest guy, Ya know what he said by the end of the year? 'Ya know I'm kind of loving this.'"
Calipari said progress was made by reading books with Willie. "He and I had books we read together. I'd get him a book, he'd read it and I'd read it and I'd ask him questions about it. So it's more than just..... these kids are young kids, they're 18. It's your own child, what makes these kids different, 'Well they're bigger.' Really? So now a kid's 6-10, so he's different than your own child?"