It is easy to make the argument that out of all Kentucky basketball players, Derek Willis has received the most criticism this season. Starting with his arrest months before the beginning of the season, his struggles on the defensive end of the court and a surprising shooting slump to start the season. Likewise, the four has been the most criticized position for the Cats because of a lack of defensive spark.
However, over the past five games Willis and Wenyen Gabriel have both been the saving grace for the Cats. The biggest change for the two has been Willis’ three-point percentage.
According to CoachCal.com, in the first 14 games of the season, Willis shot just 31.8 percent, 14 of 44 from behind the line. The last five? Willis went seven of 12 for 58.3 percent from three. The senior looks more confident with each game and has improved his shot selection.
Both Willis and Gabriel have begun to knock down shots when the Cats need them to, but they have also stepped it up on the other end of the court.
In the Cats’ win over Auburn, Gabriel pulled down 16 rebounds, the most of any player in the Cal era in SEC play. And then against South Carolina last night, Willis led the team with seven rebounds, stepping up when the Cats were getting almost no help from their guards.
Oh, and who can forget about this?
– KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) January 22, 2017
It was good enough to earn him a shout out from my pastor in church this morning, gotta love Bullitt County.