Willie Cauley-Stein, Lucky Jones, Mike McFadden

Kentucky’s Cauley-Stein, Poythress explain why they’re coming back


After a disappointing season, a majority of Kentucky’s 2012 team that were considered possible NBA Draft picks decided to make the decision to stick around for at least one more year.

On Monday afternoon, center Willie Cauley-Stein and forward Alex Poythress told Kyle Tucker of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal their reasons for coming back. Not surprisingly, they included a disappointing 2012-13 season, which they capped with a loss at Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Poythress, who finished the season averaging 11.2 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 58.1 percent from the field, echoed that sentiment.

“I didn’t want to leave with a bad taste in my mouth. It was a tough loss for us. You didn’t want to end your college career like that.”

Apparently, Cauley-Stein’s decision wasn’t too tough either, just flat out calling it “easy”. He said his meeting with coach John Calipari was short, and pretty blunt.

“I could leave this year, go late first round or come back next year and have an opportunity to go really early (in the NBA draft).”

Cauley-Stein added that he didn’t think he would be a one-and-done, anyway. He averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds this past season and stepped into a more prominent role when center Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL in February.

Poythress was, at least to some extent, expected to be a candidate for the one-and-done route that so many stud players have taken under Calipari. Now that he’s not, he was asked if he was surprised when people expected him to leave.

“I just try to make my best decision for me. Really, they weren’t making the decision I was. Wherever I felt like was best for my situation, that’s what I made.”

This seems to be the message that all those players who could’ve tested the waters are repeating right now. Goodwin along with Noel, are the lone players to leave early off this season’s team. Goodwin finished his one-year career with the Wildcats averaging 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds this season prior to injury.

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Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.