October 12, 2011

Cauley raves about UA visit

As four-star power forward Willie Cauley takes his official visits, he's looking for a place where he feels comfortable and a place with a great atmosphere. He found both of those on his visit to the University of Alabama over the weekend.

"The people are great there," Cauley said. "They're really nice. I got a really good feeling about them. I love the coaching staff. There's a lot of atmosphere, which is great. Going to the football game and seeing all those people was a good feeling."

The Olathe, Kan., native was scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa on Friday but had some issues with his flight, pushing his arrival back to Saturday. However, he ended up staying later on Sunday before flying back home.

On his visit, Cauley spent a lot of time with Crimson Tide point guard Trevor Releford, who is also from the Kansas City area. The two actually worked out together over the summer.

"It was cool," Cauley said. "I worked out with him a lot during the summer and got to know him pretty well. It was cool to just chill with him. We really didn't even talk about me coming. We were just catching up.

"I could definitely see us playing together. We already got that chemistry, so that's good."

The Rivals.com four-star recruit also spent a lot of time with Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant and the UA staff, who talked to him about the chance to play early at Alabama and how he would fit into the Tide's system.

"They just told me that the opportunity is there," Cauley said. "They don't have a four man, so there's an opportunity to come in, get better and play early as a freshman.

"I'm not a center. I don't like banging down low, so that's not my thing. I like leading the break. I'm a very good passer. I run the floor extremely well, so I'm more mobile than a center."

Despite his 7-foot frame, Cauley loves to run the floor and is looking for an up-tempo style of play, similar to what Alabama runs.

"That's my game, so it fits in perfect with what I do," Cauley said. "A lot of the stuff they run in practice, we ran it with my AAU team, so practice-wise, it's not going to be a big change, except for the competition level."

One of the highlights of the weekend for Cauley was the Vanderbilt football game Saturday night. The basketball star loves football and has made a name for himself on the gridiron for Olathe Northwest High School this season.

"I love football and I play, so it was just awesome," Cauley said. "It's Alabama football. Not many people around here get to go to an Alabama football game, so I was real excited about it. It was really fun."

At the game, a number of Crimson Tide fans, especially students, recognized Cauley and made him feel welcome on his visit.

"That was the most insane part," Cauley said. "I'm walking on the field, and all of these people, like the whole student section, was going crazy. They had signs for me. It was crazy. It made me feel good. I was just smiling the whole time."

Cauley is scheduled to visit Kentucky this weekend and plans to take his final visit to Kansas State at the end of the month. He wants to make a decision soon after his last visit.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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