Sophomore Slump? Cauley-Stein is Showing Otherwise
Sophomore slump? Willie Cauley-Stein disagrees. After WCS had a standout performance in the Barclay’s Center for UK’s game against Providence. Kentucky went on to win the game, but fans took notice of Cauley-Stein coming into his own.
Cauley-Stein was just short of a triple-double. WCS shot 7-8 from the field, 1-1 from the free throw line for 15 total points, 8 total rebounds (3 offensive), 1 assist, 9 blocks and just 1 turnover in 36 minutes. He has 31 blocks through 8 games. In comparison, Anthony Davis had 36 and Nerlens Noel had 26. WCS tied Andre Reddick and Sam Bowie for second-most blocks in a single game at UK on Sunday as well (Anthony Davis is #1).
Cauley-Stein has stated that he is trying to assume a leadership role as a “vet” on an incredibly young team. While one year and no tournament experience hardly makes one a veteran, it’s the best Kentucky has at this point. Teammates and Calipari both have made comments about how he has grown as a player and attacks every practice and it shows.
Willie was credited for Stepping up when Julius Randle had an “off” game. “Off” is somewhat of a stretch since Randle still posted 12 points, 4 assists, 8 rebounds and 1 steal. It was Randle’s first game since being at UK where he did not post a double double, missing it by 2 rebounds. He did have 2 turnovers and shot 4-10 from the field and 4-7 from the line, however. This example of WCS stepping up when a teammate is having an off night is just one example of his new attitude and attacking of every minute on the court.
A new attitude isn’t the only thing Willie Cauley-Stein will be sporting at the Baylor game on Friday night. The Cat’s, both men’s and women’s will be wearing new uniforms as well as announced by Nike’s PR team this morning. Both teams traveled together and will be staying in the same hotel and dining together as well as watching each other’s games. Both coaches as well as players stated in the weekly press conference how excited they are for the opportunity. The women play first at 7:30 on ESPN3 followed by the men on ESPN at 10. All four teams are ranked top 10 and the court will be elevated to create a Final Four type atmosphere.