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James Young says experience will make Willie Cauley-Stein, Harrison twins better and feels Alex Poythress can fill his role


James Young insisted Tuesday he was not that surprised Willie Cauley-Stein opted to return for his junior season even though he was projected as a first-round draft pick like Young and Julius Randle were.

“I mean, he wanted to come back and win a national championship, so he has to do what he has to do when he comes back. He’s getting healthy and stuff like that, so he should be good,” Young said during a stop in Lexington for the John Calpari ProCamp.

He said Cauley-Stein’s experience could be huge for UK’s freshmen.

“It’s gonna help the freshmen out a lot, just so they’ll know what to do during practice and stuff like that — how Jon (Hood) was for us last year. Willie can just take that role and really just teach them the ways,” Young said.

He’s also not worried about who will fill the void he left at small forward.

“I feel like Alex (Poythress could. I’m pretty sure he’s out here working on his ball-handling and stuff like that, so I feel like could be the best guy for that,” Young said.

He also expects guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison to benefit from the experience they gained as freshmen last year.

“They can just go out there and just ball like they did down the stretch, and I feel like they’ll do a lot of things for the team,” he said. “They already know what’s gonna happen before games and stuff like that. They shouldn’t be nervous about anything, how we were last year. Just go out there and play basketball.”


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  1. King Ghidora

    Poythress has shown the tools to step out to the 3 spot at times but he will have to be more consistent if he expects to keep a lot of other talented players off the floor. UK is so loaded with talent it’s mind boggling. Where will Lee find his minutes? He looked like Anthony Davis for a short time in the tournament. The guy has an incredible game. And then there’s the new guys coming in. Wow how do you handle that much talent at once? Pitino formed a B team in 1996. The nucleus of that B team won a title in 1998. Pitino did a great job of handling a long bench especially in 1996. Let’s hope Cal can do the same or better. I’d like to see more defensive pressure on the ball and in passing lanes and a more physical game. UK could foul out 5 players and still be playing with an all NBA first round team. That 1996 team was loaded but I don’t think they were as deep as the team coming in. It all depends on the freshmen (again) but the Cats could present matchup problems for anyone they play. They just need to find that matchup advantage and use it all night. Pitino was able to do that with the 1996 team. I’m hoping for more of the same this year. But Pitino used a lot more pressure on defense while Cal plays a straight up brand of defense. I think Pitino’s style gave him an advantage in dealing with so many players because they all went in and worked very hard and they knew they had to come out and rest so the guys with fresh legs could keep up the pressure. There were some staggering blowouts by that team including my favorite, the 40 point drubbing of UT in Knoxville. I’m hoping to see more games like that one this coming year. The team has so much talent it’s hard to see them as struggling along like they did so much of last season. But there were reasons that happened including not having proper time to prepare new players because of fewer practice sessions than in the past and having some players not be able to come to campus until the semester started essentially. That hurt the team for quite a while IMO. They just weren’t ready to play really until the tournament. They will start out ready this year IMO. I sure hope so anyway.

  2. jim

    We will need to learn to shoot free throws or we won’t win the title. Regardless of how
    talented you are, if you can’t hit you free throws your toast. Willy and Dakari need too
    be on one end shooting free throws while the other guys are practicing..Kentucky gets
    fouled a lot. That’s what cost us the title last year.

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