LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky has announced that 7-foot center Willie Cauley-Stein will return for his junior season.

Cauley-Stein missed the final three games of the Wildcats' run to the NCAA championship game after sustaining a left ankle injury in the Midwest Region semifinal against Louisville. He had been projected as a possible top-15 NBA draft pick but said in a statement Monday he wanted to return and move closer to earning his degree.

He also wants to help Kentucky make another run at a title after watching from the bench.

Said Cauley-Stein says ''being at the Final Four was special, but not being able to help my teammates on the floor was tough.''

His 106 blocks tied for second-most in a season for Kentucky and he earned all-Southeastern Conference defensive team honors.