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Draft analyst says strong season could lock Willie Cauley-Stein into lottery, but he must avoid another slump


It’s a non-issue now that Willie Cauley-Stein has decided to stay at UK despite being projected as a possible lottery pick or mid-first round pick almost for sure, but I wondered if his ankle injury — he had surgery last week after missing UK’s final three NCAA games — would have impacted his draft stock.

“I don’t think the injury would have had a big impact on his status,” Ed Isaacson of NBADraftblog.com said. “An athletic big man who can run the floor and block shots, he could have probably gone in the top 20, with a chance to possibly going in the late lottery.

“Returning next year, he could seemingly lock himself into the lottery, but he will need to show the same type of improvement he showed this year and avoid the late -season type of slump he had this year.”


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  1. Barry

    Willie needs to hit the weight room and get stronger and then develop a mentality of seeking and playing through contact instead of backing off from it. He also needs to work on his back to the basket moves and will have a true point guard who will get him the ball when and where he needs it. He will also need to work on putting himself in scoring position when his man leaves to double team. He has shown signs of that, but needs to get more consistent with that effort. If Willie can and will do that, he will be a lottery pick for sure.

  2. Geno

    Larry, where did the Cats stay in Indy last year for the Sweet 16, some Card fan thinks he knows everything.

    1. larryvaught

      I believe it was the Omni where they stayed GEno

  3. Larry T Clemons

    Willie’s game needs growth and second nature instincts…he showed spurts of that, when he just played and not, over thought it. His around the basket footwork improvement would allow him to be a Lob Master and I think he should develop a hook shot…As Barry stated, his upside is unlimited. If he’s shows the same growth, this year, as he did from his freshman year to sophomore season, and as Barry stated, bulks up from young man to Man, (DeMarcus Cousins) strength, he’s top 3 after his Junior Season…I’m really proud that He’s shown the Maturity, TO Be ” STAYING & PLAYING.”

  4. Phillip Barker

    Hey Barry and Larry, think you guys are spot on with your comments about WCS. I’m going to run one by both of you and see what you think. Anyone who follows my posts knows I’m a huge Willis fan since I love his overall skills’ level. Assuming the twins don’t return, (hope I’m wrong), and we are thin on the back court, what do you think of running Willis at the 2? He has a good handle, is arguable the best passer of the big man, has good shooting range, and would be an offensive nightmare at his height. Considering that our guards couldn’t stop penetration last year and we have a at least 2 rim protectors, he wouldn’t be anymore of a defensive liability than anyone else. If he adds about 10lbs of muscle, and improves on his defense, I feel he sees the floor a lot next year…he’s just too talented to sit on the bench. Go Cats!

    1. Barry

      Phillip I think Derek will see more playing time, but at the 3 spot backing up Alex. I agree he is too talented to sit on the bench. Putting on some muscle would only help his cause. There are still a lot of things to shake out and frankly, I hope the Twins move on. They are good kids, but they are still focused on their agenda, not the team’s. As for Derek playing the 2 spot, it would all depend on the matchup from the opposing team. A smaller, quicker guy would give Derek trouble, but it could work on a bigger, slower 2 guard. If the Twins leave or Alex leaves, Coach will probably try to bring in one or two more wing players. Everything will sort out in about 3 weeks, let’s see what happens.

  5. Anonymous

    WCS plays with great energy and this year he began to understand basketball strategy..positioning, angles, cuts, timing. etc., A lot of his energy in his frosh and early soph season was expended thinking too much and reacting too late. I think he will reach his potential about mid season ’14, and become one of Ky.s greats. He is the best all around athlete at his size I have seen and I’m actually trying to think of any seven footer that was EVER near Willy in pure athleticism. irememberwahwah

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