Willie Cauley-Stein came in as a bit of a mystery man. He was ranked as the fortieth best player in the country, the number nine ranked center and a four star kid according to Rivals. His recruit rankings were a little lower than Kentucky fans were used to in the John Calipari era but he checked in at seven feet tall and was an athletic phenom as he was also a star wide receiver in his home state of Kansas.
WCS, as he became known to fans, came into Kentucky and immediately started drawing praise from coach Cal. He was more polished than at first thought and was able to run up and down the court with an ease and a quickness that is unusual for a player of his size. But he was seen as a project and would get minutes off of the bench in relief for the assumed starter Nerlens Noel.
But Willie played early and often. His size, speed and defensive presence were too much to ignore. He had a couple of early games in which he scored double digits (Lafayette, LIU Brooklyn, Samford) and had a monster second half at arch rival Louisville in a close three point loss to the eventual national champions.