August 28, 2011

Cauley down to five

Don't mind Willie Cauley, he's just the guy being recruited.

Somehow, as evidenced by a recent note on the Olathe Northwest standout, the prevailing thought has become that Kansas State is the leader for the four-star forward. But it seems as though no one bothered to check that out with him. Asked on Friday if the Wildcats are, in fact, the team to beat for his commitment, the Spearville, Kan., product didn't take an extra breath to form his response.

"Is that true?" He said. "No."

Instead, Cauley insists that each of the schools still alive in the process stand on level pedestals, and the crowd vying for his talents isn't as large as it once was. A sweeping cut has been made, and only five schools have been left standing.

Alabama, Florida, Kansas State, Kentucky and Oklahoma State are all that remain, and as he continues the process of scheduling campus visits, he sees the pros of each. In K-State's case, the draw is simple. See, it turns out there's still something to be said for the in-state school. And Cauley says it.

All of it.

"That's one reason why K-State is on my list, it's real close to home," Cauley said. "A lot of people at my school are K-State fans, and my town is full of K-State fans. That would be looked up to a lot if I choose K-State. Everybody would already know me. Playing close to home really doesn't matter too much to me, but all that other stuff I said matters.

The question for Wildcat fans, of course, is just how important all of that is to the 7-footer. It's a decision he'll weigh over the next few months, a chunk of time he'll spend touring the campuses of his five finalists. Cauley will visit Florida on Sept. 17 before seeing Alabama in early October. He also plans to attend Kentucky's Midnight Madness event and has a trip to Manhattan worked into the schedule as well.

"I'm going to Kansas State somewhere in there, too," he said. "I forget when, but I think it's for a football game."

K-State will make an in-home visit to Cauley on Sept. 10, just a day before coaches from the Crimson Tide will follow suit. Ask the soft-spoken high school senior what he expects to take away from the upcoming living-room conversations, though, and he'll show off a verbal shoulder shrug of sorts.

"I really have no idea or clue what to expect from those," he said.

Cauley, who ranks as the 9th best center and 40th overall prospect in the class of 2012, hopes to sign during the early signing period. He says he may miss that window, however, due to his high school football schedule, which may push back his final round of campus visits.

K-State assistant Brad Underwood is spearheading the recruitment of Cauley for the Wildcats.

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