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April 1, 2013

Cauley-Stein, Wiltjer returning; Goodwin NBA-bound

Kentucky's 2013-14 roster is starting to take shape, and the alignment will have some surprises.

Archie Goodwin will enter the NBA Draft, UK announced on Monday, two weeks after Goodwin insisted he would return for his sophomore season. And Willie Cauley-Stein who'd at least hinted he might leave after one year at Kentucky, will return, the school announced.

In the same release, UK confirmed what Kyle Wiltjer tweeted on Sunday night, that he'll return for his junior season.

Cauley-Stein averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a freshman. Given his 7-foot, 244-pound frame and athleticism, Cauley-Stein was projected as a likely first-round NBA Draft choice.

After Kentucky's season-ending loss to Robert Morris in the NIT, Cauley-Stein said he'd like to return, but said he would weigh his options and his family's needs before making a decision.

"I'm looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player," Cauley-Stein said in a release Monday. "I’m also excited for the opportunity to try and win a national championship."

Wiltjer, who averaged 10.5 points per game as a sophomore, had been rumored to be considering a transfer. He posted on his Twitter account Sunday that he would be returning to UK.

"After talking with Coach (John Calipari) and the staff, I understand what I need to do," Wiltjer said in a release. "I want to be a part of another championship. This summer I'm going to work the hardest I’ve ever worked to come back next season better and stronger to help my team fight for number nine."

Cauley-Stein and Wiltjer will provide a veteran presence on a team set to feature at least seven freshmen, guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, swingman James Young and forwards Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis.

"I'm excited that Willie and Kyle have decided to return for next season," UK coach John Calipari said in a release. “When we talk about a players-first program, our goal is for each player to reach his dreams. Willie and Kyle believe it is in their best interest to return to Kentucky next season to achieve those dreams, and I fully support their decisions.

"Although I really wanted Archie to return for his sophomore season, I fully support him choosing to pursue his dreams. He has the drive and desire to be great and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure he succeeds in life both on and off the court."

Goodwin led Kentucky in scoring at 14.1 points per game as a freshman. The 6-foot-5, 198-pound guard is a projected late first-round draft choice. After the Wildcats' loss to Robert Morris, Goodwin was adamant he'd return and said he and his freshman teammates were "delusional" if they thought they were ready for the NBA.

Goodwin has not signed with an agent.

"This is something I've dreamed about my entire life and I feel like the opportunity is there for me to play at the next level," Goodwin said in a release.

Kentucky's release noted that other player announcements will come at a later date. Freshmen Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress have yet to announce their intentions with regard to the NBA Draft.

Noel, who missed the final nine games of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, is projected as the possible No. 1 pick in the June 27 NBA Draft. Poythress, who said after the season that he planned to return, is a possible first-round pick.


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