One. More. Year... Willie Cauley-Stein returns to Kentucky for junior year

04/14/2014 05:42 PM

Willie Cauley-Stein told KSTV’s Thomas Beisner at the beginning of the season that if they didn’t win a title, he would probably return for his junior year. The 7-foot sophomore center was true to his word today when he announced on Twitter that he is coming back to Lexington next year.

Cauley-Stein’s sophomore season came to an abrupt ending early in the Sweet Sixteen game against Louisville when he injured his ankle. While he made the best of his situation cheering from the bench and recording the team’s amazing run with a GoPro camera, Willie said that experience pushed him to return to UK for one more year.

“I want to come back and have a chance to win a national championship, while also getting closer to earning my degree,” Cauley-Stein said. “Being at the Final Four this year was special, but not being able to help my teammates on the floor was tough. I look forward to helping us get back there next year, while playing in front of the best fans in the nation.”

Cauley-Stein ended the season averaging 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He earned All-SEC Defensive Team honors, and he is tied for second in the record books in single-season blocks with 106. The rising junior has recorded 166 blocks in his career and currently ranks sixth all-time in the program’s history.

“I’m happy for Willie and also proud of him for making the best decision for him and his family,” head coach John Calipari said. “Being in school for at least three years will get him closer to having a degree and will help him prepare for the next level and life afterwards.”

Cauley-Stein will be joined in the paint by incoming freshmen Karl Towns and Trey Lyles. If Dakari Johnson foregoes the NBA draft, Lyles would be the shortest of Kentucky’s front court at 6’10”.


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