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Really impressive attitude from a kid who's suffered a high profile tumble in the recruting rankings, but is still not afraid of the bright lights of Kentucky. Hated to read that he and his family had to overhear some fans downplaying him, but I understand that's just the way fans talk. I know many will say he'll never see the court at Kentucky but I think that's shortsighted. He's 6'9, can handle the ball a little, and most importantly can shoot the three, I believe at some point if he doesn't transfer he'll be in the rotation during his 4 years as a Cat.
Louisville, Kentucky Sports blogs for The Courier-Journal
Derek is a good guy. I had him in class again yesterday; he's a good student, is pretty laid back (doesn't cause any commotion in class) and has his head on right. By the way, BE scrimmage Louisville Central @ BE at 5:45 this evening. I will probably be there sitting a few rows behind the bench. The school is really excited about this upciming season, especially if the team stays healthy.
Dereks' coach said he had to play out of positiona lot last year and he made that sacrifice for the benefit of his teammates and school. That should tell you what kind of kid he is and since his fall in the recruiting services rankings some people have forgotten about him since the other 4 guys are ranked so high. I think you will see Derek rise in the rankings since he will be back to his compfortable position on the floor, the perimeter. I think he will be much like Kyle Wiltjer but may be a little better handling the ball.
If he gains another 20-25 lbs. putting him up to 230-235, he'll be a major factor at UK. As young as he is, I would expect him to gain weight as he works with the strength coach.
A) A high school coach playing a kid that tall out of position should be fired immediately.
B) I'm not putting the kid down but blaming the recruiting services forgetting about him isn't right. The kid plain tanked and played awful after UK picked him up. He's bordering on not even being ranked at all he played so bad. But he has a chance coming up to right the ship and climb back up the rankings. Let's see how he progresses this year.
Carl your absolutelt correct Willis did play terribly durin g the sspring and summer but he must have talent enough because Cal recruited him and then let him sign. So like you and I both agree upon that he can improve his play his senior year and I believe he will and how much he will climb in the recruiting services rankings is up in the air but I think he will at least be on everyones rankings lists.
I agree. He has the potential or he wouldn't have been ranked so high in the 1st place and Cal wouldn't have offered him so fast. We'll see how it turns out.
Derek had to play out of position due to an injury to another player. Also, do not be surprised if Derek doesn't match his stats from last year as BE has at least 3 other players who can put up 20 points on any given night. Case in point, in BE's scrimmage tonight against Louisville Central, forward Rusty Troutman hit 6 or 7 threes tonight and ended up with about 30 points; I believe he's going to Bellarmine. Derek played alright tonight. He was better at not forcing one or two bad 3s, which he had a tendency to do last year. Also, you can tell he's put on more weight as he wasn't getting knocked around. Granted, Central doesn't have any bangers but it didn't take much to knock Derek off-balance last year. He still needs to get his hands/arms up on defense, particularly when closing out on shooters and to not shuffle his feet when driving. But he's a good teammate and seemed more unselfish with the ball than he did last year, which was great to see as he has a good players around him.
I really think Willis has to improve greatly to even sniff the floor at UK. I love Kentucky boys but I see Willis as more of a Jon Hood player who hasn't been able to get on the floor since he arrived at UK. I know Willis is tall but the guy's Cal gets year in and year out I just don't see Willis getting much PT at UK. Again Hood was a better player ranked higher and he can shoot, jump but he can't seem to find the floor at UK so unless Willis gets a ton better he probably won't get much playing time at UK either. I like Willis and I hope he turns into this great player but I just don't see it happening mainly because Cal has always had good wings everywhere he's been just and I think there is another young guy in Kentucky playing at Johnson Central that is going to be good enough to play he too reminds me of Wiltjer just better in the post.
Hood is not a good shooter or a great jumper. Also, he's not a good defender and doesn't play with much confidence so that's why he doesn't play. Wiltjer can at least shoot and usually makes the right decision; has more charisma to his game. Hood is more athletic than Wiltjer (not saying a whole lot), but Wiltjer is better at "playing" basketball.
Before we relegate Willis to the bench while in a KY uniform lets let him play his senior year and then go thru the summer practices first. I think by the time he gets thru all that he will have maybe 15 to 20 lbs more on his frame and a stronger player both on offense and defense.
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