Willie Cauley - Stein credits thinking less to performing more for Kentucky Wildcats basketball

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Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The accolades continue to come in for Willie Cauley – Stein after his near triple-double on Sunday night.  After an inconsistent start, WCS has roared into form and has averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds and 8 blocks a game for his past two games.  The key?  Thinking less.  

 

After his latest flirtation with a triple-double, Willie Cauley-Stein credited less thinking.

He scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a career-high nine shots. He increased his season total of blocks to 31, or just five fewer than Anthony Davis blocked in the first eight games of the 2011-12 season or more than half of Cauley-Stein’s total of 60 for last season.

“I think just more aware,” he said of his blossoming as a shot-blocker (16 in the last two games). “Before, in the past, I was hesitant in going (after blocks). Now, I’m just going. Coach said don’t even worry about it. Go try to block every ball, and that’s what my game plan is.”

Cauley-Stein cited a similar devil-may-care attitude for a recent uptick in offensive production. He’s scored double-digit points in four straight games, averaging 13.8 in that span.

“It definitely feeds off defense,” he said. “Just flying around everywhere. It makes it more like you’re not thinking of the offense. In the past, that’s what I was doing, like pre-thinking what move I need to do. Now, I’m just reacting.”

 

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like the whole time that John Calipari was in New York, he was asked about either the Knicks job or the continuing fascination with Andrew Wiggins.  Mike Francesa was the latest to ask Cal about Wiggins and how he got away.

 

For instance, at one point, Francesa asked: “How did Wiggins get to Kansas?”

Calipari began to respond, “Well, I think again we had a whole group of guys and…” but Francesa interrupted him with “Did you recruit? Were you close? You had to be close on Wiggins. You’re close on everybody…How good is Wiggins?”

Wiggins, of course, is Andrew Wiggins, the Kansas freshman and projected No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

It rambled on back and forth for a little before teetering off to Francesa suggesting that Cal show Julius Randle  tape of Bob Lanier because he just found out that Randle was a lefty.

Well, after Kentucky outlasted Providence 79-65 in a hard-fought game at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, coach Calipari expanded on his  recruitment of the Canadian Wiggins, the No.1 prospect in the class, with SNY.tv.

“We both went after him and [Kansas] got him,” Calipari said exclusively to SNY.tv.  ”Kids want things for different reasons.  I don’t take it personally. I wished him luck.”

Calipari compared the situaton to how he lost Stanley Johnson, the five-star forward from California, to Arizona, as it was well-documented how hard Kentucky went after him.  Although it feels as if the Wildcats have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country year in and year out, Calipari noted how even for them it’s never a sure thing when recruiting a player.

“This place isn’t for everybody and not everybody wants [to be here],” Calipari said.  ”Everybody acts like I get every kid I recruit.  It’s so crazy, it’s not true.”

In addition, Calipari bemoaned the fact that he gets labeled as the only coach who has guys go to the NBA after only one year in school. Both Duke and Kansas have increasingly taken more one-and-done type players in recent years.

 

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of basketball recruits seem to prolong their recruitment and make it seem like they really are undecided as to what school they will attend.  Devin Booker does not seem to be one of them as he said the Kentucky was always for him.  Booker details more in his latest blog for USA Today.  

 

I talked with my parents about it for months; throughout the whole process I probably felt a different way about each school at some point. In the end, though, Kentucky was where I wanted to be. That feeling never left me. I even waited a while to see if the feeling would wear off, but it never did.

I never had any second thoughts because I took so much time to do it the right way. I was locked in all the way.

Coach Cal was really excited when I told him. He told me that we were gonna have another special class, and he told me that he wanted people to say “I knew Booker was good, but I didn’t know he was that good!” I really liked that because I knew that meant I would be getting better and better. That’s what I wanted.

I definitely feel like I’ll have an even better year this year because I don’t have any worries. I don’t have to go home and text and talk with coaches all night. I don’t have to think about visits or where I want to go because I’m locked in and I know where I’m going.

On the other hand I know people on the court are gonna go at my head even more because I’m a Kentucky recruit, but I never worry about that because I go hard at everyone anyway.

 

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