Willie Cauley climbing 2012 rankings

Willie Cauley - 2012

In 2009, about as many people had heard of sophomore Willie Cauley as had heard of his hometown, Spearville, KS. This despite his father being a collegiate star at Pittsburgh and even though his natural athletic gifts and seven foot wingspan seem quite obvious. Perhaps his relative anonymity can be explained by the fact that Cauley comes from western Kansas or maybe it is because he hails from the same state as Perry Ellis, one of the top five players nationally in the same class. Or, just maybe, it’s hard to evaluate a 6’10” 16 year-old without seeing him against top-shelf competition.

But now the would-be blue chip prospect has joined Matt Suther’s MOKAN Elite team and made an immediate impact at a high level, and according to national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, he has decided to transfer for his remaining high school career to Olathe Northwest in Kansas City, where he will face higher level competition and learn from Coach Mark Grove.

And his summer impact has been immediate. “I don’t think we would have won the LA {Double Pump} tourney without him,” said Coach Suther. “In the championship game alone, he probably had seven blocked shots and 20 rebounds.”  And in fact, many recruiters have now recognized real progress in his game in just a short time. Clearly today he is not as prolific a scorer as Ellis or Gavin Thurman (another top player from Wichita), but as he grows into his body and learns more about the post skill-set, he can be a scorer at the next level.  And, he already runs the floor extremely well, with good feet and hands. “Yeh, I have a lot to learn offensively and I need to play hard all the time,” admits Cauley.  Coaches who have now seen him play tell us that if he works on his physique, he has a chance to be a big impact player at the next level.

Although NY2LA has had him in their top rankings for awhile, the more mainstream services such as Scout.com and Rivals had no mentions until recently. Even basketball fans in Kansas City have very little knowledge of his basketball talents. “I haven’t seen him play and really don’t know much about him” has been a common refrain among high school coaches here. But Coach Suther sees a star emerging. “Once he gets the confidence that he can take over games, he has a chance to play at a very high level.”

And programs have started to notice. Schools such as Kansas State and Oklahoma State have made offers and Arizona, Iowa, Iowa State and Notre Dame have recently ratcheted up the attention for Cauley. “I have heard from at least ten schools in the last six weeks,” says Suther. “Willie has so much upside and the fact that he is incredibly coachable makes him all the more valuable.”

He averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks for the Spearville Lancers last season, and in our rankings of Kansas City area players, we placed Cauley ahead of Perry Ellis for long-term upside. And we heard a lot of disagreement from fans and some coaches. Based on his potential and ability to make an impact at the collegiate level, we believe he has the potential to be a big-time player (just like Ellis does), and we like his size as the real differentiator. It’s still early in the basketball life of Willie Cauley, but his raw talent, desire and coachability tell us he should be considered one of the top centers in the 2012 class.


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About kcprephoops

Following Kansas City high school basketball and area basketball teams, players and alumni in Kansas City and its surrounding hoops communities. Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/kcprephoops or email us at kcprephoops@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Willie Cauley climbing 2012 rankings

  1. CR says:

    The coach at Olathe Northwest is Mike Grove, not Mark Grove

  2. Mark says:

    There is no way Willie Cauley is better than Perry Ellis – Perry is the best player Kansas has EVER produced!!

  3. bryan says:

    Best player ever…. Hardly, do your homework Mark. Can you say Ricky Ross or Korleone Young?

  4. Brandon says:

    Here is the deal….Perry Ellis is good, but dont count out Willie Cauley. He comes from basketball families on both his Mom and Dad’s side of his families. His Dad was a starting member of the DC Juco squad that was #2 in the nation behind GCCC (along with his 7 foot tall uncle on his Mom’s side), and then went on to start for a ranked Pittsburg team, until he got hurt (I believe he blew out his knee). His Mom, along with all of his aunt’s were no shorter then 6’5″ and all played college ball. This kid is from a basketball pedigree. The question I see about Ellis is his size. I know for a fact that Cauley will eventually fill out his frame as the parents were very solidly built basketball players. I have seen both’s game, and like the guy says, I think there is more of an up side to Cauley with where his abilities and skills can go.

    • kcprephoops says:

      We agree – we have been talking about Cauley since well before anyone else, and though we like Ellis alot, we think Cauley will be the better player in the long-run. Credit the MOKAN crew for finding and growing Cauley and hopefully his new high school will help him get better too

  5. Pingback: 2012 recruiting - Page 2 - CycloneFanatic

  6. wendell w smith says:

    Ricky Ross should be in a room by himself,he scored 32 points a game his senior year without a three point line are you guys crazzzy!!!!!!!

  7. just dunk it says:

    Well Ive known Willie all his life,,,coached him as a kid and until he gets his mind right about playing or not playing football he is never gonna get the attention he is capable of getting. When your 7 ft and thinking about playing footbal and risking it all just makes no sense to me. its time they decide whether or not willie wants to play ball the rest of his life or work a blue collar job, pretty simple decision, i would think!!!

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