Willie Cauley-Stein, who injured his left ankle in Kentucky’s win over Louisville in the Sweet 16, is doubtful for Sunday’s game against No. 2 seed Michigan.
”I will tell you, he’s still in a boot. He’s doubtful. He’s acting like he thinks he can do something, and I would be stunned if he played in this game,” John Calipari said Saturday during Kentucky’s media day. “But he’s saying that he may want to give it a try. But he hasn’t been out of that boot. So he went down and hit it pretty good.
The positive news in this situation is that the injury to Cauley-Stein is only his ankle. “No, it’s his ankle. Not an Achilles,” Calipari said.
Cauley-Stein averaged 7.0 points, 6.2 boards and 2.9 blocks this season, but he has been coming off the bench in recent games. He injured his left ankle in the first half of Friday night’s win and did not return to the game, as CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson reported that Cauley-Stein told trainers that “he heard it pop”.
Cauley-Stein is the most athletic player on Kentucky’s front line, but the good news is that John Calipari has plenty of front court pieces at his disposal. Dakari Johnson has been starting alongside Julius Randle, and this could mean extended minutes for him. It should also lead to more playing time for Alex Poythress.
An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.
The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.
But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.
New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.
The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.