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Derek Willis’s Friday News and Views

It’s Derek Willis Eve in the state of Kentucky, as the 6-foot-8 power forward is set to announce his college decision tomorrow. Willis, from Bullitt East High School, will announce his destination at 4:00 pm Friday afternoon in a press conference from the school. It’ll be the second commitment for Willis, but he says he is sticking to this one. Willis originally committed to Purdue as a high school sophomore last spring, but he shot up the rankings after a breakout summer on the AAU circuit. With new interest from Kentucky, Louisville, and Indiana, he decommitted from the Boilermakers in August, but Purdue is still a major player in his recruitment.

The top 25 prospect in the 2013 class already knows which school he’ll attend; his dad said the decision was made early last week. Del Willis, a diehard Louisville fan, says his son would like to wait until next fall but he’s confident in his choice and just wants to get it over with.

Many others are confident in Derek Willis’s choice, too. They’re confident he’ll select the Cats. I am in that group of people. In fact, there aren’t many people who aren’t in that group. It’ll take a major push from Ricky P or Tom Crean and serious reconsideration from Willis to sway the decision.

Four o’clock, folks. The Cats should land their first commitment of the 2013 class. And we’ll have all the coverage you need right here so stick with us.

News and views are in the house tonight. Everybody just have a good time.

Everyday I’m shuffelin’…

— I’m going to give you two things to watch for this weekend when Kentucky hosts the Crimson Tide. I know, there are plenty of things to watch during a Kentucky game at Rupp Arena, but these are two storylines that could make a world of difference going forward. Both are crucial to this team’s evolution:

(1) Marquis Teague, Floor General… For the first time all season, or at least as long as I can remember, Marquis Teague played the point damn near to perfection against Arkansas. Teague had a career-high 9 assists and just three turnovers in a very fast-paced game. It was an “unbelievable floor game” for Teague, Coach Cal called it afterwards. Cal said the difference in his point guard is he’s focused and zoned in on how he’s playing. “He’s playing the point versus trying to score,” Cal said.

Even Teague himself noticed a difference in his game. “I am making better decisions and trying to run the team,” he said following the win. “I have to get everyone involved and make everyone happy.”

I won’t call Teague selfish, but he was definitely a shoot-first point guard in the first half of the season. Now he just needs to transition into a well-rounded point guard. He can get his buckets, and he will, but in order to be a great point guard, he’ll have to play like he did Tuesday night and run the team.

Watch him. It could get ugly for UK’s opponents if he plays Floor General again.

(2) Anthony Davis, Offensive Threat… While Teague grows as a passer and a leader, Anthony Davis is growing as a playmaker on offense. Before, he was just that guy they threw the lob to on offense. And that was just fine. But against Arkansas, Davis knocked down a jumper and took his man off the bounce to create his own shot. And that’s just scary.

We’ve heard about AD’s potential on the offensive end; we just hadn’t really seen flashes of it until Tuesday. If he can consistently create his own shot or hit that 15 footer, get out of his way. It’ll be hard to find a flaw in his game when that happens. We could be looking at one of the all-time greats in Kentucky blue.

Watch him when he has the ball. And watch him when he’s throwing it down off the lob, too. And when he’s blocking shots. Or when he’s skying over everyone for a rebound. Or hustling. Or altering a shot. Or getting a steal in transition.

Just keep watching him.

— Moving on, UK Hoops got another big conference win on Thursday night. Matthew Mitchell’s sixth-ranked team went down to Georgia and knocked off the No. 15 Bulldogs, 69-64 in Athens. Freshman guard Bria Gross led the way with a career-high 22 points. Player of the Year candidate A’dia Mathies only scored seven but grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. The win moves Kentucky to 17-2 on the season and a 6-0 start in SEC play, the best in school history. The Cats have now beaten five ranked teams this season, including three teams ranked in the top 10.

— Luke Winn of SI.com made a block chart for Anthony Davis:


(via SI.com)

Something tells me Luke Winn is single. Just a guess.

— After his best performance of the season against Arkansas, Davis moved up to No. 3 on CBSSports.com’s Player of the Year list. He’s behind Thomas Robinson and Creighton’s Doug McDermott, and just ahead of Jared Sullinger, John Henson, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at sixth. Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan is No. 10 on the list.

— That Vanderbilt team we all expected to see this season is finally showing up for basketball games. The Commodores went down to Tuscaloosa and came out with a 10-point victory over Alabama. Hubert Davis called Vandy a potential Final Four team — which some people on Twitter called crazy — but I can’t say I disagree. They should be so much better than how they’ve been playing this season. I’m not going to write them off yet.

— According to JayhawkSlant.com, Shabazz Muhammad will take an official visit to Kansas. Ron Holmes, the father of the nation’s No. 1 player, told the KU website that Kansas is definitely in the mix.  “A lot of people have no idea what’s going on,” he said. “We’re going to officially visit Kansas, and I’ve said that many times. If it works out, I’m going to bring my entire family to Kansas. I always knew Kansas was a great school, but the in-home visit really opened my eyes.” As someone who has been to Lawrence, Kansas, I can go ahead and assure Shabazz he doesn’t want to go there. Just take my word for it, buddy. The Phog is an incredible college basketball atmosphere but that’s about it. It’s Kansas. It’s just a bunch of wheat and… ummm… more wheat and stuff.

— If you’re wondering how former UK defensive coordinator Steve Brown landed a job in the NFL, it’s probably more of a favor from his old roommate. Brown and Titans head coach Mike Munchak lived and played together in Houston. Brown played eight years for the Oilers from 1983 to 1990 as a cornerback and kick returner. He got a bad rap in his final seasons as UK’s defensive coordinator, but he’s proven in the past to be a pretty solid coach in the secondary. His new job as “assistant defensive backs coach” should fit him just right.

— Check out the latest word on three big time football recruits Kentucky is pursuing. Two of them are four-star players who recently decommitted from Tennessee and the other is an old name on UK’s board that has reemerged. Click here or just scroll down to find it.

TV time! I have a question, friends. I’m going to play catch up on a series but I can’t make up my mind on which show I want to commit to. With a new season of Justified just starting, I’m tempted to get my Raylan Givens on. But I’m also considering flooding my brain with four seasons of Mad Men before season 5 debuts. Any other suggestions? I’m willing to give anything a try. Help me out, please.

That’ll do it.

Don’t forget about Derek Willis at 4:00. We’ll be sure to remind you plenty of times throughout the day.

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

72 Comments for Derek Willis’s Friday News and Views



  1. standsforgunshotwound
    10:51 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Please choose Justified…there are plenty of references to the great state of Kentucky and Raylan shoots like Davis blocks. He doesn’t miss.



  2. Toyota
    10:52 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Mad men is to slow. The best shows I have ever seen are Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad. You will fly through both those



  3. ColoradoCat
    11:05 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink


  4. Scottie
    11:08 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    I hate Kansas (the university) as much as anybody, but I hate the Kansas (the state) jokes even more. I’m from Kansas, and honestly the state that is most made fun of around here is probably Kentucky. So why Kentucky fans seem to make fun of the state of Kansas, and how it’s “just a bunch of wheat”, as much as they do is hard for me to figure out. It’s not like the state of Kentucky is all that special…?



  5. Kentucky14
    11:15 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Sons of Anarchy. This season is over so you have plenty of time to catch up. Probably the best show on TV right now.



  6. Ummmm
    11:15 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    @4 because Kansas (everything about it) is gay



  7. Bo
    11:21 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    I just watched the first 4 seasons of Mad Men and I highly recommend.



  8. Wow
    11:22 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    It would be good to see in state talent go to UK



  9. Uk hoops is legit
    11:23 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Is it just me or does MKG look like Andre3000 from OutKast????



  10. Bigchunky
    11:25 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    DEXTER is the best show of all time. If you haven’t seen it you are at least a quarter communist…



  11. Scottie
    11:27 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    @6 – classy response, thanks



  12. manbearpig
    11:28 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    my brian??? something you not telling us Drew?



  13. Jenny Craig Pitino
    11:28 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    I think that if any college coach should be trusted to be able to evaluate and develop basketball talent it is Coach Cal. And since all of the recruiting services also agree that Willis is a top 25 national recruit, I say welcome Derek Willis to BBN.



  14. manbearpig
    11:29 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    #4. Just click your heels together and repeat after me, “There’s no place like home,”



  15. ForReal!
    11:31 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Kansas is all wheat and kentucky is all rednecks and horses. To each their own. Every state trash talks other states of their rivals. Its usually all in good fun so #4 lets not take things too personally! And #6…. youre right!



  16. Drew Franklin
    11:41 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    12. — Hahaha one day I’ll start proofreading. #nohomo



  17. yevkazim
    11:44 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Drew if you want to try something a bit different, try White Collar on USA. Season 3 just started, very good show. Another one you may not be aware of is An Idiot Abroad by RIcky Gervais. Laugh my butt off every episode. Season 2 just getting ready to start



  18. Scottie
    11:48 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    @15 – Good point. There’s no hard feelings, I’m just always kinda surprised when Kentucky fans make fun of Kansas as much as they do! Let’s just all agree that the University of Kansas does indeed suck 🙂



  19. leonard nimoy
    11:49 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Has anyone noticed that Mr. Willis looks an awful lot like he might be from the planet Vulcan? Hopefully that means he’ll make the logical choice and pick the Cats, ensuring that he’ll have an opportunity to live long and prosper. Man I’m funny.



  20. Hey, Scottie
    11:52 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky = MegaBadass
    kansas = deece at best and gay



  21. David
    11:54 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    You should find a joy for comedies, such as Happy Endings, Community, or Parks and Rec, they are all super good, and good TV is not hard to find trust the AV Club they recommend a lot of good TV.



  22. Scottie
    12:00 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    @20 – lol fair enough



  23. Defcon 1
    12:07 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Archer is very funny



  24. ibleedblu
    12:08 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    its always sunny is the best show on tv



  25. John W
    12:14 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Cake boss anyone?



  26. ok
    12:30 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    i live in louisville kentucky and i love my cats. ive went to see derek play in person and he really aint nothin special. hes just really tall for kentucky high school basketball. if i was 6-8 in louisville i would forsure be better than that kid.



  27. I spend 50 hours a week watching tv
    12:40 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    mad men best show on tv, boardwalk empire is awesome, shameless is f’in brillant.



  28. I
    12:48 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Pass on Willis, Please!! We don’t need anymore Daniel & Larry Ortons around here! Besides, there are MUCH better 2013 kids falling over each other to get to UK. I know Cal likes to stick it to 3 stacks as often as possible, but let’s not cut our nose off to spite our face!



  29. BigTylerFan
    12:50 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    28 agree



  30. WalkerKYRanger
    1:04 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    You should watch The Good Wife. Bad name; great show.



  31. Brent S
    1:06 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    I just finished season 1 of Downton Abbey and it is excellent. You can stream it on PBS.com.



  32. Dr. Kat
    1:07 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Justified, nuff said.



  33. Ibleedbule
    1:19 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Spartacus on Starz is a great series.



  34. Chad
    1:25 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    WATCH BREAKING BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’ll nethe best show you’ve seen in your life mr. franklin!!!!!!



  35. Anthony Davis Has A Posse
    2:19 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Would love to get this kind of home-grown talent at Kentucky if Willis wants to come and work hard. But the prize of that class is definitely Nerlens Noel. He is raw, but super explosive for a player of his size and absolutely dominant in the paint.

    As for the TV thing, yeah, what they said – Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad are all very entertaining and will pretty much cause you to put your life on hold.



  36. Stevie Janowski
    2:39 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    True Blood first and then Eastbound and Down



  37. dave
    2:51 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    the wire
    arrested development
    it’s always sunny
    californication
    curb
    dexter



  38. booya
    2:53 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    UK already has Jon Hood. Go to Louisville where you can contribute maybe as much as Elisha Justice. Wait….isn’t that a girl name? Anyway…at Louisville…we’re miles ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1



  39. ricky
    3:50 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    http://www.zagsblog.com/2012/01/19/pitino-says-allen-fieldhouse-is-most-overpowering-arena/#more-65572
    i keep running my mouth: phog “only place I have found that to me was overpowering was Kansas” but then i say “in terms of the amount of people, like Rupp Arena’s overpowering.”
    i’m making sense??



  40. jetblue
    3:50 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    38. We won’t have hood or polson in 2013. Cal will always recruit the token local white boy for the fans and to help the team GPA.



  41. ricky
    4:07 am January 20, 2012 Permalink


  42. Geoff
    4:14 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Dude as a friend you should know, as soon as you get into Mad Men, you are INTO it. Seriously brilliant.



  43. Bulldawg
    5:18 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    I have not seen mad men, but at least with Justified u know what you’re gettin’!
    Justified = untouchable like Mag Bailey!!!!!!! (and NO, I don’t mean Bennet)
    If u have not seen Spartacus u have u r missin out. And The Walking Dead of course.

    Scottie, I’ve never been to Kansas. It seems like an ok place but it also seems kind of boring unless u enjoy tornados(from an outside point of view). In Kentucky you have flat land (A.K.A Horse farms). U also have the frickin’ Appalachain Mtns. Nothing like a good drive up a mountain holler and then gettin on the dirt road. Some of the lakes here are 2nd to none. And by the way, we have THE best basketball program EVER! A lot of reasons why Kentucky is special to me. If people from other states don’t like it, quite Drew frankly my dear, I don’t give a shit 😉 We got enough dumbazz’s here anyway.



  44. CatGrad01
    5:18 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve been slammed everytime I say Derek Willis is overrated. I watched him play in person for the fourth time tonight against Spencer County. He had 2 points in the first half. Spencer County has no inside game and has a losing record. Rusty Troutman outplayed him once again.

    I guess I’m just a schmuck, because I don’t see it. He would ride the pine at UK, uofl, purdue and IU.

    He had 4 points in a game last week.



  45. OliverSimmons'ShoulderHair
    5:43 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    If Willis were an out of state player, I highly doubt Cal would have interest in him. In my view, he is mainly doing it to stick it to three stacks. Kid won’t sniff the floor here.



  46. fat tv guy
    6:20 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    catch up on mad men 1st, they are very true to the time period, the world used to not be soooo verry pc



  47. Jaythiss
    6:48 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Boardwalk Empire and Eastbound and Down. Two great shows.



  48. Jd
    7:04 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    44 you from Mt.washington



  49. bigbluedude
    7:21 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    hope he goes to purdue



  50. Ville Cat
    7:40 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    This is why I get frustrated with our fan base. Cal gets told to recruit the state or take some guys who are not one and dones. He does it and gets ripped for doing it. Why don’t we all just trust in Cal’s choices and welcome this kid with open arms if he chooses UK.



  51. 1lump&soup
    7:43 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Okay, I ain’t no expert or nothin’, but I just looked up some highlights. This dude is weak, man. I really hope he picks UofSmell, he would fit in perfectly there. But, I was wrong about Scott Padgett years ago, but then again that was years ago.



  52. Hoss
    7:47 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Steve Brown got a bad rap at UK LONG before last season.



  53. Catnut
    7:48 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    @44 I agree! Rusty out plays him in almost every game!They are both Bellarmine material. Being Bellarmine material is not a slam on Bellarmine at all nor is it a slam on the kids but they are not Division 1 talent



  54. Al's IndiCats
    7:49 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    If you like alot of BooFooing and Blood Spartacus is the show, along with Game of Thrones….The Blonde Dragon woman in Game of Thrones is HOT HOT HOT!!!!
    #4, I was stationed in Kansas at McConnel AFB for almost 2 years in the 70s. Had I not already been married I would’ve stayed there. The ladies were OUTSTANDING!!!!!



  55. you suck
    8:01 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Kansas blows big hairy ones. Just sayin’



  56. HOSS_CAT
    8:08 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Big time recruits that got recruited over at other schools lol



  57. waltahtothealtah
    8:14 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t I read on here that Bill Self blew the in home visit with shabaaz by not pronouncing his name correctly? or was that someone else? Or maybe he botched an in home visit with Brandon Knight and Brandon’s Mom wrote about it? Anybody else remember anything like this? I’m confusing myself. lol



  58. Fat UK fan
    8:18 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    38. Derek’s mom is of an Eskimo heritage from Alaska. He ain’t a “white boy.” Isn’t it obvious by looking at him?



  59. Delbert Willis
    8:25 am January 20, 2012 Permalink


  60. Shaqfu
    8:28 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Stacey Poole will not see PT at GT. He can’t dribble and can’t shoot.



  61. Roy withers
    8:41 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    1.game of thrones
    2.breaking bad



  62. Al B. Sure
    9:29 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t care for Mad Men at all. Also, I find True Blood to be very cheesy.

    The best shows, IMO, are: (not necessarily in this order) Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Tosh.O, Californication.

    As for shows that are no longer on the air: Rescue Me (the first four seasons), The Shield, 24, Deadwood, OZ, The Sopranos, and Arrested Development.

    Shows that I like but would not consider the “top tier”: Justified, Burn Notice, Psych, Big Bang Theory, White Collar, In Plain Sight, Wilfred, Shameless.

    If absolutely nothing else is on to watch: Cops, Campus PD, Chopped, World’s Dumbest…, Forensic Files

    Shows that I haven’t seen much of but I like what I’ve seen: Eastbound and Down, Boardwalk Empire, House of Lies.

    There you have it.



  63. Matt
    9:32 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Willis has a ton of upside, won’t be 18 until end of freshman yr in college.



  64. GummyBear
    9:45 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Archer. Best show on TV. Saeason 3 just started last night.



  65. EMG
    10:03 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Seriously, watch Game of Thrones. Read the books. Obsess.



  66. The Outlaw Josey Wales
    10:43 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Drew, Trailer Park Boys. You would like it



  67. ChicagoCat
    10:46 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Pretty much any HBO series is worth your time. I haven’t seen a couple of the new ones (Enlightened, Angry Boys, etc.) but I just finished up season 2 of Boardwalk Empire and it was fantastic. The new show ‘Luck’ starts at the end of the month and is about horse racing(!) featuring my boy Dustin Hoffman being a badass. Wish I had Showtime because I hear nothing but good things (Californication owns me).

    1. Boardwalk Empire
    2. Game of Thrones
    3. Archer
    4. Californication



  68. yevkazim
    10:59 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    And in case you haven’t seen them, get caught up on Weeds on Showtime.



  69. bluristhurr
    11:16 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Im interested in Justified! Don’t listen to 68 Weeds sucks IMO just alot of drama from a mid aged women and her kids. Breaking Bad is by far the best show going right now IMO with Sons of Anarchy too you won’t go wronge on either of them. And you can find both of them pretty EZ for free off of btjunkie.com! Trailer Park Boys is funny too if you liked or like to smoke weed.



  70. Wooster
    11:29 am January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Mad Men is brilliant, but not for everybody. It’s very subtle and cerebral. Storylines and characters are developed very patiently. The lead character is deeply flawed, but impossible to root against.



  71. Sheeeeiiit
    12:43 pm January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Drew – I like most of the shows you talk about. But I think you need to check out two shows no one is really talking about. Both are from BBC America and both are miniseries.
    First is Luther – Starring Idris Elba who was in The Wire as Stringer Bell. He was nominated for Golden Globes for his performence as Luther. This is a really great show. 2 mini seasons and talking about a third.
    Next is The Hour – Also starring an actor from The Wire, Dominic West who played McNulty. The show is a spy thriller set in the 1950s. Very good acting and a great plot make this a must see. Only one mini season and I’m not sure if its coming back.
    You will thank me if you haven’t seen these and you watch them.



  72. BlueBallz
    2:30 pm January 20, 2012 Permalink

    Drew Franklin: It’s Kansas. It’s just a bunch of wheat and… ummm… more wheat and stuff.
    Bulldawg: Nothing like a good drive up a mountain holler and then gettin on the dirt road.
    Funny stuff, im gonna make the assumption someones never been outside the state of kentucky.