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Link: Sports Illustrated on Cauley-Stein's leadership, improvement

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Willie Cauley-Stein is just a sophomore, but he is looking to step into a leadership role heading into his second college season.

That, along with Cauley-Stein's relationship with John Calipari and his unique background, is a primary topic in this Sports Illustrated story that was posted on Monday. So too is the work he has done to improve on a solid freshman season.

Yet he expects much more this year, from himself and from his teammates, a group that includes another flock of five-star freshmen who are expected to return the NCAA title to Lexington. For his part, Cauley-Stein has been honing all aspects of his offensive game, "from guard skills to banging in the post," he says. He picked up some footwork chops at the Nike big man camp and has been working on his reliability from both 15-feet out and right under the basket, where Calipari expects him to draw double teams every time he touches the ball. As for free throws, which he made at a dismal 37 percent clip last year, "I always work on those," he says.

He has also added polish to his defense, which was already a strength. "He's not the shot blocker that Anthony Davis or Nerlens or Marcus Camby was, and he may not be the shot blocker that [incoming freshman] Marcus Lee is," says Calipari. "But he can guard any position, so on pick-and-rolls, he can switch. That's of great value. The NBA is really into analytics right now, and a nimble seven-footer who can guard all these positions and who is improving -- Willie's going to be off the charts."

Cauley-Stein likes the idea of being an outlier. "I feel like I'm a different kind of player," he says. "I don't mean that in a cocky way. But what seven-footer runs like a guard, guards like a guard, but is a post player? I want to be the first one, the best one, of that type."

A lot of attention will be paid to UK's talented group of newcomers - and rightfully so - but Cauley-Stein could be the anchor of this Kentucky team.

Link: Cauley-Stein is ready to lead a young Kentucky team

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