Cauley-Stein starts summer league focused on being aggressive

07/08/2015 09:23 PM

SACRAMENTO, CA — Sporting a new haircut and a confident attitude, former Wildcat Willie Cauley-Stein was anxious to get back on the basketball court at the first day of the Sacramento Kings’ summer mini-camp on Tuesday morning.

The Kings drafted the reigning collegiate First Team All-American and Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year to be a dominant defensive center alongside All-Star power forward DeMarcus Cousins, but that doesn’t mean head coach George Karl and staff don’t expect Willie to thrive on the offensive end, too.

“[Karl and I] talked yesterday before a little workout,” Cauley-Stein told reporters after five-on-five drills, “and basically he just told me, ‘We’re not worried about you making mistakes. We just want you to play really aggressive.’ When I catch the ball, mid-post or in the post, just be really aggressive and try to attack the rim, and then on defense do what I do.”

The 7-foot-1, 242-pound center lived mostly off a diet of posterizing dunks and putbacks while averaging 8.9 points per game last season as a junior at Kentucky, but Cauley-Stein showed a surprisingly good shooting touch during pre-draft workouts and has been adamant about continuing to expand his game outside of the paint in the NBA.

“I’ve had talks with the coaches; it’s not going to happen right away,” Cauley-Stein said. “But for me to see the floor, [I have to] do what got me here, being a defensive stopper, flying around, bringing a lot of energy. Then as the year progresses, or the next couple of years progress, and the more work I get with the coaches, that’s when the offense is really going to develop.

“My whole focus is being aggressive. Everything else will take care of itself.”

KSTV discussed Cauley-Stein’s comments on Wednesday’s show, predicting what it will take for him to develop the dominant two-way player he has the potential to become.


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