Willie Cauley-Stein is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association in the middle position. An aspiring rookie, Willie Cauley-Stein has been nominated for a number of awards that make him one of the best aspiring basketball players. Follow us as we discuss his path from high school basketball to the big league – the NBA.
Willie Cauley-Stein Bio
Cauley-Stein was born on August 18, 1993, in Spearville, Kansas. He was one of two children of his parents Marlene Stein and Willie Cauley. His parents never entered into marriage, but they seemed to share a passion for basketball, as both had played the game when they were growing up.
Willie has an older sibling, his brother Bryce. At birth, Willie’s full name was Willie Durmond Cauley Jr., but he had his name changed to Willie Trill Cauley-Stein in 2015. The name change was made in honor of his mother and her family. Marlene, the boys’ mother, worked as a dental assistant and raised them as a single mother (with the support of her own parents – Willie’s maternal grandparents) since her father had left her at a young age.
The high school for Cauley-Stein was Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas. As part of the after-school activities, Willie played both soccer and basketball. During his junior year in high school, he averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in basketball. He had a four-star rating from Rivals.com.
Willie Cauley-Stein attended college in Kentucky and played for the college team, the Kentucky Wildcats. He began his college basketball career as a central defender for top contender Nerlens Noel. Although he was not a starter, he averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.0 assists, and 0.8 steals in 20 games.
Noel suffered an injury later in the season that tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and Cauley-Stein jumped in as cover. His best performance of the season was 20 points and 7 rebounds against Vanderbilt. At the end of the season, he averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds. He was twice honored with the SEC “Freshman of the Year” award and appointed to the All-SEC Freshman Team.
In his second year at college, Cauley-Stein had a really impressive run. He played 37 games this year, 18 of which started. He averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game.
For the 2014 NBA Draft, he was ranked as one of the top 15 players, but then he suffered an injury towards the end of the season and decided to return to college for another year before signing up for the draft. His total number of 106 blocks was the second-highest in the school’s history and led to his appointment to the all-SEC defense team.
His junior season was a season loaded with recognition for Cauley-Stein. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, the USA Today First Team All-American Team, which was elected to the All-SEC First Team and the All-SEC Defensive Team. At the end of the same year, he declared that he wanted to register his name for the NBA Draft.
Willie Cauley-Stein was selected by the Sacramento Kings on June 25, 2015, as the sixth overall winner of the NBA Draft of 2015. His rookie deal was signed a few weeks later on July 16.
In the opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Cauley-Stein made his debut with 2 points and 2 setbacks. At his first career start, he scored 17 points and 9 rebounds in a win against the Los Angeles Lakers. In his first career double win against the Lakers at the turn of the year he scored 12 points and 10 rebounds.
In a win against the Phoenix Suns, he scored 26 points, a career highlight at that time. At the end of his first professional season, he was honored as NBA All-Rookie Second Team. When the Kings decided to swap DeMarcus cousins, Willie began watching longer minutes of play on the court, and he returned the favor with a 29-point career-peak victory over the Denver Nuggets on February 23, 2017. Against the same opposition, he recorded seven victories – the best seven in his career – in a 106-98 win on January 6, 2018.
Willie Cauley stone stands at a height of 7 feet 0 inch and weighs 240 pounds according to the list. With this physical statistic, Willie Cauley-Stein fits perfectly with his position as a central player.