Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Cauley-Stein more likely to leave?
By Luke Lapinski
Willie Cauley-Stein has been making a pretty solid run up draft boards all season. And, with the unfortunate news surrounding teammate Nerlens Noel today, Kentucky needs him to continue to raise his game now more than ever.
The 7-footer arrived in Lexington this season as a four-star recruit ranked No. 40 overall on the ESPN 100. Big things were expected of him, but maybe not to the extent of fellow freshmen on the roster like Noel, Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress. He's delivered much quicker than expected though, to the point where there's even been talk he might sneak into the lottery if he continues to evolve.
To that end, the next few weeks will go a long way towards to determining his NBA future. With Noel out, the Wildcats will lean on Cauley-Stein to step up in a big way inside. He can't replicate the defensive dominance Noel brought, but he's going to see more playing time and that means more opportunities to grab rebounds and make his presence felt. Our own Chad Ford currently has him ranked No. 11 on his big board, and it's not inconceivable that he might even crawl a couple spots higher if he rises to the occasion. That could certainly increase the likelihood that he might chose to leave UK after his freshman campaign -- especially with five-star prospects like Dakari johnson and Marcus Lee already set to suit up in the frontcourt for John Calipari's squad next season,