Kentucky Coach John Calipari scoffed at the NBA questions about Willie Cauley-Stein’s lack of offensive polish and desire to improve.
Calipari suggested Cauley-Stein’s offense can begin improving quickly and dramatically.
“Those teams will zero in on that in one summer, and he’ll begin to change,” Calipari said.
Speaking on a teleconference Thursday, Calipari noted that Cauley-Stein did not concentrate on basketball until he arrived at UK. Cauley-Stein’s background as a high school football player is well known.
Calipari noted how he watched Cauley-Stein play whiffle ball. “He was pretty good,” the UK coach added.
“A lot of these kids have been groomed since they were 6 years old,” Calipari said. “Well, Willie really started playing when he came with us. . . .
“He’s better than you think and (NBA teams) can mold him into what you want him to be. . . . He’s one of those guys who will do the things that get a team over the hump.”
Cauley-Stein possesses “the feet and hands of a 6-3 super-athletic guard,” Calipari said. “Which means he can guard all five positions.”
NBA teams have questioned Cauley-Stein’s desire to improve. No doubt that was one reason Cauley-Stein insisted he had no interest in art, never mind evidence to the contrary in his three seasons for UK.
Calipari noted that he had coached only three “gym rats:” Derrick Rose, Brandon Knight and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
“Willie, he plays,” Calipari said. “He loves to play.
“But Anthony Davis wasn’t, like, a gym rat, and he’s OK. So I think it’s been overblown. It’s almost like you’re trying to pick something out that he’s not.”