At the completion of the early signing period, UK men's basketball has received National Letters of Intent from Willie Cauley, Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, three of the top players in the Class of 2012, head coach John Calipari announced.
Willie Cauley is Calipari's first 7-foot signee at UK. The Olathe, Kan., native is a senior at Northwest High School where he averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds last season. Cauley is ranked the 10th best center in the country by Scout.com and ESPNU Recruiting and the sixth best by Rivals.com. He ranks 20th overall by Scout, while ESPNU Recruiting has him at 32nd and Rivals ranks him 39th. He also stars on the football field, catching 57 passes for 1,140 yards and 14 touchdowns through nine games in 2011 as a wide receiver.
“At 7-feet tall, Willie has great feet and great hands,” Calipari said. “He's a wide receiver on the football team. When he starts zeroing in on this sport, I think people are going to be surprised at how good he really is. He's got his best basketball ahead of him.”
Archie Goodwin a 6-foot-4 guard from Little Rock, Ark., is in his senior year at Sylvan Hills High School where he averaged 28.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a junior. Goodwin, the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas, is currently ranked as the second best shooting guard in the country and 12th overall by Rivals.com. Scout.com ranks him the third best shooting guard and 13th overall, while ESPNU Recruiting has Goodwin as the fourth best shooting guard and also 13th overall.
“Archie is a combo guard who can really score the ball,” Calipari said. “I love his athleticism and length. He plays kind of like Tyreke Evans, but can shoot it more consistent at this stage in his career than Tyreke could.”
Alex Poythress, a 6-7 forward from Clarksville, Tenn. is a senior at Northeast High School where he has played all five positions at different times. As a junior, Poythress averaged 22.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists en route to being named a finalist for Mr. Basketball honors in Tennessee. Scout.com ranks Poythress 16th overall in the class of 2012 and the No. 3 small forward. ESPNU Recruiting has him 17th overall and No. 4 at his position, while Rivals.com ranks him 19th overall and No. 8 at his position.
“When Alex is at his best, because of his size and athleticism, he's as good as anybody in the country,” Calipari said. “He is really athletic, and when he's got his motor running, he can score at will.”
Walter Cornett, of Glendale, Kentucky, is the owner and operator of Walter's Wildcat World. He founded WildcatWorld.com in 1998 making it one of the oldest Kentucky basketball fan sites in operation today.