Willie Cauley-Stein says Jr. NBA program teaches youth things that are 'bigger than hoops'

Willie Cauley-Stein in Manila (2:45)

Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein is in town to help out the Jr. NBA Philippines National Training Camp (2:45)

Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein is in town to help out the Jr. NBA Philippines National Training Camp that will be conducted on May 19 and 20.

The camp, which features 75 of the top young talent of the country aged 10-14, aims to identify the Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars who will travel to Shanghai for the NBA China Games later this year.

And for the third-year Kings big man, he is excited to see the passion of the Filipino fans.

"I heard that the fan base out here is ridiculous so I'm excited to see that especially coming from Kentucky and the Kings, they're notorious for their fans," Cauley-Stein said in an interview on Tuesday at Dusit Thani hotel in Makati. "So I'm excited to see how crazy the fans here are."

Cauley-Stein is joined by WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes as they look for the top eight boys and eight girls that will represent the Philippines in Shanghai.

"I think the Jr. NBA just puts on such a good [program] like the way they run things is so well together," shared the 24-year-old center. "Like a kid cannot have a bad experience."

"With that being said, the learning aspect, the respect, all that is good to me because it's bigger than hoops. You don't just use those things for hoop. You use them for every day life," he added on the impact of Jr. NBA.

Cauley-Stein's passion for reaching out to the youth and exploring things beyond basketball is exemplified with his relationship with fellow Kentucky Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns. He revealed that he was just talking to the Minnesota Timberwolves star early in the postseason and their bond goes beyond the basketball court.

"I was talking to him like second or third game in the playoffs. But me and him kind of have a different brotherhood. We don't really talk about hoops," he shared as they focused on each other's well-being and families instead of just basketball.

Aside from Towns, Cauley-Stein actually has a couple of fellow Kentucky Wildcats around the league namely Trey Lyles, Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle, and Devin Booker. With a number of his peers scattered on different teams, is there a possibility of a Kentucky reunion?

"That's crazy. I literally just asked Booker about three weeks ago. Like 'I think we should get a super team together,'" he said chuckling about the idea of his former teammates joining together with his former teammates.

Jokes aside, Cauley-Stein is extremely happy to be in the country and help out the Filipino youth.

The Jr. NBA National Training Camp will be held on May 19 at the Don Bosco Technical Institute and May 20 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena Music Hall.