By LARRY VAUGHT
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.”