Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer will return to the Kentucky program for the 2013-14 season, but Archie Goodwin's future with the Wildcats remains uncertain.
UK announced Monday that Cauley-Stein and Wiltjer will be back in Lexington for their sophomore and junior seasons, respectively, while Goodwin will be entering his name in the 2013 NBA Draft. The freshman guard has not signed with an agent and could return to the Wildcats if he remains unrepresented and follows NCAA protocol. That scenario may be unlikely, though, with the upcoming draft expected to be one of the weakest in history.
"Although I really wanted Archie to return for his sophomore season, I fully support him choosing to pursue his dreams," UK head coach John Calipari said in a statement released by the school. "He has the drive and desire to be great, and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure he succeeds in life both on and off the court."
The 6-foot-4 Goodwin led Kentucky in scoring this season at 14 points per game and earned Freshman All-SEC honors. The Little Rock, Ark., native also ranked second on the team in assists (87) and steals (35).
He is projected to be the 18th pick in the first round by DraftExpress.com.
"This is something I've dreamed about my entire life, and I feel like the opportunity is there for me to play at the next level," Goodwin said. "I will stay in Lexington to finish my schoolwork this semester before continuing to pursue my dream. I've loved my time at UK and want to thank Coach Cal, the staff and my teammates for helping me get where I am. I especially want to thank the Big Blue Nation for all their support."
Goodwin is the second UK player to announce his intention to leave the program since the end of a disappointing 21-12 season which saw the Wildcats miss the NCAA Tournament coming off their 2012 national championship. Sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow confirmed during the weekend that he intends to transfer to Georgia State.
Meanwhile, Cauley-Stein and Wiltjer expressed their excitement about bouncing back strong next season.
"I'm looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player," said Cauley-Stein, who averaged 8.3 points and 6.3 rebounds as a freshman. "I'm also excited for the opportunity to try and win a national championship."
"I'm so excited about the possibilities of next season," added Wiltjer, who posted averages of 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds this season. "I love Coach Cal and the staff, the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation. After talking with Coach and the staff, I understand what I need to do. I want to be a part of another championship. This summer I'm going to work the hardest I've ever worked to come back next season better and stronger to help my team fight for number nine."
Said Calipari: "I'm excited that Willie and Kyle have decided to return for next season," Calipari said. "When we talk about a players-first program, our goal is for each player to reach his dreams. Willie and Kyle believe it is in their best interest to return to Kentucky next season to achieve those dreams, and I fully support their decisions.
"I believe, with another year of hard work and competition, they all can take their games to the next level. I look forward to seeing them all grow into young men."