Kentucky’s junior forward is averaging 9.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, as well as a team-high 34 steals and 39 blocked shots for the No. 1 Wildcats (24-0, 11-0 SEC). He is posting those numbers despite playing only 25 minutes per game on UK's deep roster.
Earlier this season, Cauley-Stein became the first player in UK history to record 200 blocks and 100 steals in a career. He’s one of just eight players in program history with 500 or more rebounds, 100 or more blocks and 75 or more steals.
The list of 20 players also includes former Wildcat Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga, a second SEC player in Bobby Portis of Arkansas, and Louisville standout Montrezl Harrell.
The remainder of the finalists are, alphabetically: Justin Anderson of Virginia, Ron Baker of Wichita State, Jerian Grant of Notre Dame, Tyler Haws of BYU, Buddy Hield of Oklahoma, Stanley Johnson of Arizona, Tyus Jones of Duke, Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin, Georges Niang of Iowa State, Jahlil Okafor of Duke, Kevin Pangos of Gonzaga, Chasson Randle of Stanford, D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State, Juwan Staten of West Virginia and Deion Wright of Utah.
The list will be pared to 15 players prior to the NCAA Tournament.
Cauley-Stein and the Cats return to action Saturday at Rupp Arena in a 2 p.m. ET tipoff against South Carolina. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.