Cauley-Stein, Poythress talk about returning

LEXINGTON, Ky. - UK Forwards Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress talked about their decision to return to Kentucky next season and play with a No. 1 ranked recruiting class.

Willie Cauley-Stein...

On his decision to not enter the draft this year …
“I mean, I go this year and go late first round or come back for another year with the chance of going in the
draft a little earlier, so staying was almost a no brainer. Plus I enjoy school. It wasn’t like I was in any rush
to leave. I never thought that I’d be a one-and-done anyway so to come back wasn’t that big of a deal.”
On whether or not this season affected his decision …
“It just put a bad taste in my mouth. When I feel like something is empty I want to fill it, and I think that next
year we have a great chance of doing that.”
On his family’s influence in his decision on the draft ….
“They just said that it was up to me. That they’d survived this long without whatever I would make in the
pros, so what’s another year or two?”
On what he likes about school …
“You don’t get these years back, so why grow up when you don’t have to. Plus I just like the college life. I
like that here everyone knows who I am, that experience is fun.”
On what Coach Calipari wants him to do next season …
“He just wants me to step up as more of a vocal and hands-on leader. This year I was put in a situation
where I had to step up and lead, but I wasn’t really ready. Coming in I was really hesitant about what I was
doing. I didn’t feel like I was in a place to try and lead guys that were more hype than me or guys who were
supposed to be playing better than me. So I just stayed back and watched instead of taking action like he
wanted me to.”
On the team’s potential next season …
“Potential is exactly that. We had the potential this season and didn’t capitalize on it. So we could easily
have the best recruiting class and not do anything with it; it’s that simple. If you don’t come together and do
things right, then you’re just a bunch of talented kids that didn’t do anything with it.”
On why next year might be harder and different …
“The hype is going to be different because there are so many guys coming next year. We have 10 potential
first round picks coming, and they’ll have to play with each other every day. Coach doesn’t want the same
thing that happened this year to happen next year so he’s going to change a bunch of things so that doesn’t
happen. Intensity is going to pick up and the level of how we play is going to go up tremendously.”
On his impression of the recruiting class …
“To be honest I haven’t really watched them play, but their height is a positive. They should be really good.”
On the ability to get better because of the players coming in …
“To me, that’s the best thing about next year, is that you’re going against pros every day. This year it was like that until Nerlens got hurt and then it was like playing against Brian Long; and then you’re not getting better. You’d dominate in practice and get to a game and struggle. But next year it’s going to be a lot
different. And that’s what I’m going to capitalize on every day. Going at these dudes every day because it’s
not only going to make me better, but it’s going to make our team better. And it’ll make them better as well.”
On how he plans on being different next season …
“Definitely bringing each other together early. (Coach) Cal always talks about coming together and at the
rate that we were going, we were coming together right when the tournament started. But this year I want to
start that way early. Like having group meetings in the summer and going out to eat; doing silly stuff like
that. I think things like that will really help bring us together and that’s one of my big things that I’m going to
go into the summer with.”
On what he heard in the media and how that affected his decision about the NBA Draft …
“I heard a wide variety of things which is kind of what set me off. I heard anywhere from 8-10, 15-20, 22-25,
and that’s the whole dang scale. That’s everywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable taking a chance on it and
landing somewhere that I’m not going to be good at when I could come back and help.”
On any pieces of advice for the freshmen …
“The biggest thing that I could say is just knowing from the get go that it’s real. We started off really good
and then we started losing and it was just like wow, we’re not as good as we thought we were. And that’s
the biggest thing. Every game you play has to be hype. You have no time to relax when you step in
between those lines. And it’s all business once you do.”

Alex Poythress...

On if it was an easy or tough decision to return to school …
“It was a pretty tough decision. I had to weigh my options, but I am happy with my choice to come back and
will have to live with it.”
On how long it took to make his decision …
“I’m not really sure. It was a long process. You just want to make sure your heart is in it and make sure you
make the right decision, and I feel like I did.”
On what he will do during the summer to improve his game …
“Just do all of the little things like workout all of the time and get in the gym as much as I can. I’ll try to drag
other people to the gym with me like Willie (Cauley-Stein) and just try to work hard for next year.”
On what the process was in the making his decision …
“Just talking to my mom and my parents. Really just trying to figure out what they were thinking, getting
their input, and talking to the assistant coaches. I talked to Coach Cal (Calipari) to try and get his input and
decide what was the best decision for me.”
On how much he discussed the process with the other guys in similar situations …
“I talked to Willie and Archie (Goodwin) a lot. Those were the two players I talked to the most because they
were going through what I was.”

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