By LARRY VAUGHT
Sporting News college basketball columnist Mike DeCourcy continues to lavish love on coach John Calipari’s team. He has Dakari Johnson at No. 6 and Willie Cauley-Stein at No. 7 among his list of the nation’s top centers for the upcoming season.
Here is what DeCourcy wrote about Cauley-Stein, who many expected would be in the NBA this year:
“Who here expected Cauley-Stein to be back in college basketball? Not even John Calipari would raise his hand. Projected as a top-20 NBA Draft pick because of his defensive ability and exceptional athleticism, Cauley-Stein shocked the game by returning for another season with the Wildcats.
UK was going to be fine without him, as this list (and the other four position rankings) demonstrates. But with him there is the chance to be extraordinary, if others commit as much to the defense as he does and he perhaps becomes a more productive offensive player.”
Now here is what he had on Johnson:
“If Kentucky had only one center worth ranking, whether it were Johnson or Willie Cauley-Stein, that player might merit a more prominent position. But how does one become an all-star when playing half the time? In fact, Johnson’s offensive skill and Cauley-Stein’s defense are rather a perfect combination. Together, they make one sensational center. And as he showed during the final three games of last season, Johnson is willing to go it alone if his partner is unavailable.”