Willie Trill Cauley-Stein (born Willie Durmond Cauley Jr. on August 18, 1993) is an American professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball with the Kentucky Wildcats.
High school career
Cauley-Stein attended Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas, where he played basketball and football. As a junior, he averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Cauley-Stein was listed as the No. 9 center and the No. 40 player in the nation in 2012.
Cauley-Stein dunks against the Florida Gators his junior season
Cauley-Stein started out his college career as a bench center, backing up top prospect Nerlens Noel. During his time as a back-up, Cauley-Stein ended up averaging 7.8 points on 63.9% field goal shooting, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.0 assists, and 0.8 steals in 20 games of play.
Cauley-Stein earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice (1/7, 2/25). Cauley-Stein's season-high came against Vanderbilt as he posted 20 points to go with 7 rebounds. In a couple weeks prior, he was a perfect 5-5 from the field against Auburn.
On February 12, 2013, in a game against the Florida Gators, Noel tore the ACL in his left knee after blocking a Florida lay-up, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the season. Cauley-Stein was given the starting center position due to Noel's season-ending injury. In Noel's absence, he recorded three double-doubles in six games including 10 points and 11 rebounds against Georgia and 13 points, 10 rebounds to go with four blocks at Arkansas.
After SEC play ended he was named to the All-SEC Freshman team. At the end of the season he averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game after appearing in 29 games while making 14 starts.
During the 2013–14 season, he appeared in 37 games, making 18 starts while averaging 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. His tallied 106 blocks for the season is a total that ranks as the second-most in a single season in school history.
His terrific sophomore season led to him being named to the All-SEC Defensive Team. He recorded a career-high nine blocks twice during the season against Providence and Boise State. He really started coming into his own towards the end of the season. In the SEC Tournament, he recorded 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks vs. #1 Florida in the SEC Championship game.
Due to an injury to his leg suffered during the 2014 NCAA Tournament in a game against Louisville, Cauley-Stein missed the remainder of the season. He decided to return for his junior season due to his injury; he was a projected top-15 pick in the 2014 NBA draft prior to his injury.
In 2014–15, Cauley-Stein was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He was also selected to the All-SEC First Team, the All-SEC Defensive Team and the USA Today first team All-American Team.
On April 9, 2015, Cauley-Stein along with Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, and Karl-Anthony Towns all declared to enter their names into the NBA draft.