Seven footer Willie Cauley-Stein served himself well by returning to Kentucky for another season. He will be quite an interesting project pick for the NBA team that does draft him. The Forward/Center could go as high as #4 to the New York Knicks. There’s smoke on that front, but is there fire as well?
His former Coach, John Calipari fielded a question about that a couple days ago. Coach Cal said much, but also said nothing that gives us an answer on that front. Cal’s response to that query was less than enlightening.
With picks one, two and three locked and loaded, #4, with New York, is where this Draft truly begins. There’s talk of Cauley-Stein’s former teammate Trey Lyles going to Madison Square Garden, as the Knicks worked him out. I don’t get this either as Lyles is slotted go around 14 or 15; and NYK is obviously up fourth. But here’s more on that.
The Knicks are very unpredictable, because the Knicks are the NBA’s…..well, I think the NBA on TNT summed it up best with their “Gone Fishin” segment on the Inside the NBA:
Anyway, here’s what Coach Cal did say about Willie Cauley-Stein that was enlightening the other day.
“First of all, you get a guy that’s 7 foot – he might be bigger – whose feet and hands are that of a 6-3, super athletic guard, which means he can guard five positions. He can guard a point guard or a big guy.”
“Willie really started playing when he came with us. When I saw him in high school at an AAU event, he had two points and two rebounds in a game and he was from the state of Kansas and Kansas did not recruit him. What I say to you about his offensive game is he’s better than you think and you mold him into what you want him to be.”
“He’s coming into his own. Anthony Davis wasn’t a gym rat and he’s OK. I think that’s been overblown and it’s almost like you’re trying to pick something out that he’s not. He hasn’t played as long as some of these guys. He’s going to be one of those guys next year that is well-spoken and the fans are going to love him wherever he goes.”
And when it comes to body ink, Willie Cauley-Stein is moving closer toward Chris “The Birdman” Andersen territory. Here’s where we have Willie Cauley-Stein projected in our latest 2015 NBA Mock Draft. He’s certainly a rim protector, who brings a lot of energy to the floor, but he’s still quite raw offensively. He’s probably this draft’s biggest wild card.
5. Orlando-Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky, 7-0, Jr.
The Kings have been searching for a frontcourt mate for DeMarcus Cousins and though still very raw offensively, Willie Cauley-Stein brings a ton of energy to the floor and is a huge difference maker on the defensive end. His athleticism would be a great fit up-front with Boogie.
Cauley-Stein himself on what he needs to work on to improve his NBA Draft stock:
“Being a rover, moving around. Sprinting the floor every time, I look at the small things and do the little small things I do while I play.”
Kentucky Wildcats NBA Draft profile series
Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. He also appears regularly on numerous sports talk radio stations all across the country.
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