LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - UK big man Wilie Cauley-Stein has struggled through three bad games but his teammates say he'll be back.
Cauley-Stein has scored only three pints in Kentucky's last three games. Tuesday night against Texas A&M he played only nine minutes and did not start the second half.
"Dakari (Johnson) was playing better than him so I started Dakari." said coach John Calipari. "He continued to play better than him. At the end of the game I said, 'look we're going at you,' just to, ya know, 'you've gotta get going here kid' and he turned and fumbled, I mean it didn't get any better."
Freshman Dakari Johnson has been seeing a lot more minutes as Cauley-Stein has struggled. But Johnson and Julius Randle say the sophomore 7-footer will be back.
"I can't really speak for Willie." said Randle. " All I can really say, this season we've seen what he can do. Ya know, as far as the defensive end he changes the game completely and offensively, if he's agressive, he really changes the game. We're not going to be where we want to be unless Willie is playing well, and we all know that. I can't say that it's a lack of him not practicing hard or putting in extra effort or extra work and at night because I've seen him do it."
Johnson also said Cauley-Stein is working hard. "He's taking charge, ya know, he knows he's not playing well so he's trying to practice hard too. So he's really going hard in practice and I'm pretty sure it'll carry over to games real soon."
Calipari knows what it's like for players going through slumps and he suggests it's mental. "He's doing real well and he backed up a little bit and it's like a slippery slope. When you back up and you don't keep bringing it, all of a sudden you go that other way. This sport is mental as much as anything else."
Kentucky returns to action Saturday against Georgia. Game Time Wildcat Warm-up will begin at 12:30 p.m. on WKYT. Tipoff at 1:30 p.m.