Sports Illustrated’s Kelli Anderson has a feature article about Willie Cauley-Stein, and how he wants to lead this Kentucky team this season.
Willie averaged 8.3 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Cats last season. Cauley-Stein says he is ready to be a leader.
Moreover, after struggling last season to embrace the leadership role thrust on him after Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL, Cauley-Stein is ready to be “that go-to guy,” he says. “I want to be one of our leaders that guys can look up to and talk to. Last year I wasn’t really ready to do that. It’s one of the biggest reasons I came back. I wasn’t ready to leave on the note we ended on.”
Cauley-Stein says he was not happy with the way last season went.
To be clear, Cauley-Stein doesn’t see the Wildcats’ anemic NCAA title defense of last season — the 21-12 record, the fourth-place finish in the SEC; the NIT first-round flame-out against Robert Morris — as the disaster some do. “Obviously we came up short, but I think a lot of good things came out of the season,” says Cauley-Stein. “Two players got drafted in the first round. We won 20 games, and any time you win 20 games — well, outside of Kentucky, any time you win 20 games, that’s a good thing.”
With very few upperclassmen on this team, Willie Cauley-Stein needs to be the leader for a team full of freshman. Can he do it? I think he has all the ability to be the leader this team needs.