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Kentucky’s Cauley-Stein, Poythress explain why they’re coming back

Apr 22, 2013, 6:55 PM EDT

Willie Cauley-Stein, Lucky Jones, Mike McFadden

After a disappointing season, a majority of Kentucky’s 2012 team that were considered possible NBA Draft picks decided to make the decision to stick around for at least one more year.

On Monday afternoon, center Willie Cauley-Stein and forward Alex Poythress told Kyle Tucker of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal their reasons for coming back. Not surprisingly, they included a disappointing 2012-13 season, which they capped with a loss at Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT.

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Poythress, who finished the season averaging 11.2 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 58.1 percent from the field, echoed that sentiment.

“I didn’t want to leave with a bad taste in my mouth. It was a tough loss for us. You didn’t want to end your college career like that.”

Apparently, Cauley-Stein’s decision wasn’t too tough either, just flat out calling it “easy”. He said his meeting with coach John Calipari was short, and pretty blunt.

“I could leave this year, go late first round or come back next year and have an opportunity to go really early (in the NBA draft).”

Cauley-Stein added that he didn’t think he would be a one-and-done, anyway. He averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds this past season and stepped into a more prominent role when center Nerlens Noel went down with a torn ACL in February.

Poythress was, at least to some extent, expected to be a candidate for the one-and-done route that so many stud players have taken under Calipari. Now that he’s not, he was asked if he was surprised when people expected him to leave.

“I just try to make my best decision for me. Really, they weren’t making the decision I was. Wherever I felt like was best for my situation, that’s what I made.”

This seems to be the message that all those players who could’ve tested the waters are repeating right now. Goodwin along with Noel, are the lone players to leave early off this season’s team. Goodwin finished his one-year career with the Wildcats averaging 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds this season prior to injury.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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