By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein was a non-factor in Tuesday’s loss at Arkansas when he had two points, six rebounds and one blocked shot before fouling out after he played just 18 minutes. However, Arkansas coach Mike Anderson knows how important Cauley-Stein is to UK.
“He plays the game unselfishly. I think he presents a problem. As you look at him each year, from last year to this year, he’s so much more established,” Anderson said. “He’s athletic, he can come out on the floor, he can run the floor like a deer. And he’s got a great feel for the game. He’s a good passer.
“So he presents a problem from you can throw it in there, he can make passes, he can come from the blindside to block shots or straight up. So he’s a very versatile, big guy for a 7-footer.”
Cauley-Stein leads UK with 57 blocked shots and 17 steals. He’s second in rebounding with 7.6 per game and fifth in scoring at 8.9 points per game. He is hitting 65.6 percent from the field (61 of 93) — but averages only about six shots per game.
James Young (38.8 percent) has taken a team-high 188 shots while Julius Randle (53.4) has 161, Aaron Harrison (46.3) 160 and Andrew Harrison (37.4) 115. Alex Poythress, a 52 percent shooter, has put up 75 shots.