"I want to come back and have a chance to win a national championship, while also getting closer to earning my degree," Cauley-Stein said via an additional statement released by UK. "Being at the Final Four this year was special, but not being able to help my teammates on the floor was tough. I look forward to helping us get back there next year, while playing in front of the best fans in the nation."
He suffered an ankle injury in the Cats' third game of the NCAA Tournament against Louisville and did not play against Michigan, Wisconsin or UConn.
Cauley-Stein was projected by ESPN's Chad Ford as the No. 20 pick in this year's NBA Draft.
"I'm happy for Willie and also proud of him for making the best decision for him and his family," head coach John Calipari said. "Being in school for at least three years will get him closer to having a degree and will help him prepare for the next level and life afterwards."
Kentucky is still awaiting official word from several players who are thought to be considering early entry to the NBA Draft, including freshman forward Julius Randle, freshman wing James Young, freshman twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, freshman center Dakari Johnson and sophomore forward Alex Poythress.
Randle is projected as a top five pick in many mock drafts, while Young has been in the 15-20 range.
Cauley-Stein's return guarantees the Cats will have one of the best and deepest frontcourts in 2014-15, even if they lose a couple of players. He'll team with freshman center Marcus Lee and signees Karl Towns Jr. and Trey Lyles to give UK a formidable mix of players that is likely to also inlcude Johnson and Poythress, according to many analysts.
It was a big day for players returning to their teams in the Bluegrass State. Earlier in the afternoon, Louisville power forward Montrezl Harrell announced he would return to the Cardinals for his junior season.