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Derek Willis Fans: Be Patient.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I’m sure you’ve heard this question at this point in the season. Why isn’t Derek Willis getting more playing time? When I think about Derek Willis, I think about the future and what he can bring to the table as early as his sophomore season. He can be a Darius Miller type of player, an experienced upper-class man who can come into the game and settle the team. How does Derek’s stats compare to Darius’s freshman season?

Here is a complete comparison of Darius Miller’s freshman year stats as opposed to Derek Willis’ stats at this point in his freshman year. (stats from












Darius Miller


























One advantage Miller had was that John Calipari hadn’t arrived at Kentucky. He was able to come in and play immediately. Willis has 8 McDonald’s All Americans plus the risen play of Dominique Hawkins in front of him. Miller played with 1 All American at the most in Patrick Patterson.  At this point in the season, Miller had played 7 times more minutes than Willis. What if Willis averaged 21 minutes per game like Darius did his freshman season? Would his stats compare to Miller’s? Let’s finds out. (Note that I am only including MIN, PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG, and TPG; note too that these numbers are estimates and increased minutes doesn’t mean an increase in production)(to get these stats, I multiplied each statistical category by 7, due to Darius playing 7 times more minutes)







Darius Miller
















Remember, Derek is just a FRESHMAN. In practice, he is playing against some of the best players in college basketball and certainly will be at Kentucky for four years and have his chance. It may not come this season, but look for him to play a role like Darius did his senior year. If he isn’t playing his junior or senior years, then at that point it would be fair to ask why he hasn’t been playing. Willis fans be patient, sit back and enjoy the rest of the season, he will get his chance. GO CATS!

Follow me on twitter: @Perk_21KSR

Article written by Aaron Perkins

39 Comments for Derek Willis Fans: Be Patient.

  1. Daniel
    10:24 am January 23, 2014 Permalink

    Great article, can’t wait to see how good a Junior-Senior Willis is going to be and how much he will contribute to the team.

  2. Blue_Cat75
    12:31 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    55 3s in 5 minutes in practice and he doesn’t sniff the floor in a 20pt blowout.

  3. Seems Legit
    6:30 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    Lets predict a guy’s stats who averages 3 minutes a game to that of someone averaging 21 minutes a game by using a simple multiplication factor…Seems Legit.

  4. Wow
    6:33 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    This article is just stupid. WIllis never plays and Miller played 36 games.

  5. Wyman Hoten
    6:40 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    The question should be, why don’t Willis and other subs get some minutes when the Cats are ahead by 20 points with 4 or 5 minutes left in the game? These guys should get rewarded for working their behinds off for the team in practice. Just sayin’.

    • bluebloodtoo
      6:48 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

      Because the freshman starters need to learn how to close games.

    • Ukfan
      7:49 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

      Then allow them to play in the rotation so the freshman starters have legs to finish the game (free throw shooting, et al)

  6. Lil c
    6:46 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    It’s just a matter of time before Willis transfers. I wouldn’t blame the kid one bit!!!

  7. bluebloodtoo
    6:55 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    In my humble opinion, Willis should not be considering a transfer. In order for Willis to get more SIGNIFICANT playing time, he has to prove that he’s better than Young, Randle, or Poythress. I believe Willis is a very good player. I’m really looking forward to seeing him out there getting buckets and playing, but he can’t really be that surprised that he’s not as prepared to play as three guys who are projected to be in first round of the NBA draft. Getting the last 2-3 minutes of a game doesn’t really count as anything because the game isn’t in question and the opposing team has their second string players in too.

    • Lil c
      7:02 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

      Exactly! He’s not better than Young, Randle, or Poythress. Next year he won’t be as good as Booker, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, Trey Lyles, or Carl Towns Jr. That’s why I think he should and WILL transfer to a school that will get him on the court!

  8. Hilarious Post
    6:55 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    This was really bad…the reason Darius Miller played 21 minutes to Willis’ 3 isn’t only because Willis has 8 McD AAs on the team…Miller was D1 ready coming out of high school and Willis is not. Also, you can raise anyone’s stats by simple multiplication. I’m going to multiply Johnny’s 1 minute a game by 38 to catch up with LeBron and see where his statistics go.

    Finally, you need to ask Cal why fans are wondering where Willis is at…he is the one tweeting that Willis hit 55 three pointers in practice….so where is he on the floor?

  9. gossie21
    6:59 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    I have no problem being patient with Willis. I don’t really think UK needs him this year to win games. I would however like to see him get in to get experience going in to next year (same with Marcus Lee).

    However, I get extremely frustrated listening to Matt continue to say Willis plays poor defense. Maybe I missed the game were Willis got abused on defense. That’s entirely possible. Most of Willis’ game time at the beginning of the year was in blowouts where his defensive instruction was limited to “don’t foul.”

    In the Belmont and Vandy game I thought Willis played fine. In Belmont Marcus Lee’s man hit 2 or 3 strait threes prompting Calipari to put his regulars back in. I don’t blame Willis for that it wasn’t his guy. And I don’t blame Lee really, he isn’t ready to play defense on the perimeter. In Vandy Willis missed two 3s, but he also made really nice post entry-passes that lead directly to scores.

    Willis is a unique player he has a variety of skills you don’t typically see in a player of his size. Like I said UK doesn’t need Willis to win games this year. But the more time we can get him will pay off over the next few seasons.

    • Lil c
      7:04 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

      Willis can’t possibly play defense as bad as the twins!! And yet Cal still swings on their sacks!!!

  10. ukeith26
    7:15 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    The logic behind this article is flawed. How did I not get selected to write for KSR and this guy did?

    • no
      1:21 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

      …b/c you complain too much?

  11. Billy G
    7:21 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    Willis will always have 5-8 “All-Americans” in front of him at UK. Hopefully, he realized that before he signed up to be a Rent-a-Cat.

    • bluebloodtoo
      7:58 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah, I doubt that Dominique Hawkins would agree with your logic.

  12. clay killl
    8:03 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    willis is gonna transfer if he doesn’t get the clock he deserves, he shouldn’t have to wait to his JR and SR seasons to show what hes got when he wants to get to the league as fast as any player

  13. Bunny
    8:04 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    Willis is the one who needs the patience – not us Cat fans. Just hope his career doesn’t turn into John Hood’s. Just sayin…

  14. clay killl
    8:09 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    maybe he wants to be a one or two year player but we aren’t givin him the time of day to prove it to anybody

  15. bort
    8:27 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    I’m not one to second-guess a coaching staff that has 100 more years of college coaching experience than I do. But do raise one question: Why didn’t Cal just red-shirt Willis? It seems to me that his freshman year has been wasted so he could play the bulk of his minutes against Transy.

  16. Plenty
    8:40 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    Do people not realize most college players don’t get significant playing time until their jr or sr year? Only the five stars get that as freshmen and not even all of them do. This is normal, just because we play phenom freshmen, does not mean all of the freshmen should get a ton of minutes. He knew that coming in, he came here to grow over his tenure here. He will not get the twenty minutes a game you all want him to until his upperclassman years.

  17. Brad
    9:00 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    C’mon man are you serious with this article??? Worst logic ever. You can’t just multiply a guys minutes like that who only averages 3 a game. That’s not quite how it works my friend. Seriously Matt Jones where do you find some of these people?

    And to all you fans stuck on Derek…SHUT UP. He’ll be a good player down the road but he is very raw right now and is playing behind guys who will be in the NBA next year. Cal doesn’t put him in as soon as we get a big lead because those minutes are better spent on allowing the young starters to develop. Would you rather Willis get more minutes or the starters get the development and charisma they need to make a run at a Final 4???

    • Real Cracka
      3:57 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

      I’d rather see Willis get more minutes. 30+ minutes a game isn’t enough for the starters to develop? You’re an idiot so you …SHUT UP. And I don’t think you know what charisma means.

  18. RealCatsFan
    10:08 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    After the TAMU game the other night I said that as much as I like Cal and the way he has run this program, the one complaint I have is that he doesn’t play kids like Willis, Lee, and Hawkins late in a game at home when the Cats are up by 20+. I was immediately jumped on by a couple of posters saying this isn’t a “rec league”, and that Cal needed to maximize his starters’ playing time to teach them how to close out games. I guess you could somewhat make that argument, but the argument could also be made that you also need to develop your players and your bench. Remember at the beginning of the season when Cal said he had learned his lesson after last year, and he was going to use his bench as a motivator? Well, he is not really following up after that statement real well. I’m not saying he should be giving these guys 15 minutes each per game, but at least let them have some garbage time to be on their home floor in front of the crowd for 3 minutes or so. If they start to tank and allow the score to creep within 15 points or so, put the starters back in and let them “close out the game”, like the poster above wants.

  19. katdaddy
    10:13 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    He’ll be recruited over every year.

  20. Cal says
    10:25 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t play white kids. End of story.

    • We're the Monkees
      11:18 pm January 23, 2014 Permalink

      I didn’t realize Josh Harrelson was black.

    • Jarrod Polson Says
      1:24 am January 24, 2014 Permalink


  21. Suzanne
    12:08 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

    Not playing Willis is a mistake. How can you get experience if he doesn’t play? I usually trust Cal, but not in this instance! If Willis transfers, what does it say to recruits from KY? If he is really that bad on defense, prove it! If he gets beat on D, pull him out, but then the twins would never play because they get beat on D every time down the court, watch the game!!!!

  22. Real Cracka
    3:52 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

    Experienced upper-class man? You have to actually play to get experience. Zero chance he stays 4 years. Cal will continue to recruit one-and-dones for his position and he’ll continue to sit on the bench. I wish for his sake he’d transfer after this season. Instead of wasting another season here. Cal doesn’t know how to utilize players like him. Cal is only interested in exceptional talent and trying to develop it. Players that could be great at the collegiate level don’t interest him.

  23. rockatao
    6:16 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

    Whenever the discussion comes up about freshman readiness, I always think back to Tony Delk. After an unbelievable high school career, he had a fairly unproductive year as a UK freshman. By all accounts, he felt like he didn’t belong at UK and was seriously considering a transfer. But for whatever reason, and however he accomplished it, the following season it was obvious right out of the gate that he was the best player on the floor. I don’t predict that for Willis next year, but no one predicted it for Delk back in 93-94 either. Let it play out, people. The cream will eventually rise to the top.

  24. Jordan
    10:50 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

    There’s no way Miller played 36 games. We were 18-13 (31) and pretty sure only 2 games played in the NIT.

    • Jordan
      10:56 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

      Sorry, we made the tourney that yr, but still lost in the 1st rd, and the total record was 18 and 13. so only 31 games, not 36

  25. bluebloodtoo
    11:16 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

    I still think Willis has the best opportunity at UK. If he doesn’t get to play this year, then find out why and change it next year. If he leaves, he will have to wait two more years to get to the league because he’ll have to sit a year and then prove himself.

    One definite problem that Cal has is that he has too many players that need minutes. Unfortunately that’s going to happen at UK, but you can’t tell me that Willis didn’t know when he walked onto campus that he had lots of stiff competition.

    Another possibility (and from what little we have seen, it seems feasible) is that Willis has all the talent in the world, but the wrong mental focus. I have seen Willis do some great things on the court, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a picture of him smiling or being “part of the team”. Sometimes when you expect something to be a certain way you react to those things as if it IS that way already. Those reactions usually create that situation, rather than the situation existing before the reaction, i.e. self fulfilling prophecy.

  26. bluebloodtoo
    11:20 am January 24, 2014 Permalink

    One more comment on this transfer subject. Lots of players over the years have felt that team A wasn’t the right fit for them for lots of different reasons, so they wanted to try another team. They transferred and they got lots of minutes at the other school and in some cases actually played well. BUT, how many players that have transferred because of those reasons have been drafted? …. is that crickets I hear?

    Ok, so I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, but I do remember following lots of transfers out of UK and don’t remember ANY of them being drafted.

    • somerset bill
      12:58 pm January 24, 2014 Permalink

      michael bradley, but that’s all i can think of.

  27. Cat89
    2:54 pm January 24, 2014 Permalink

    I have never seen the kid play, but obviously there is a big jump from H.S. to college and even bigger gap when you go to a school like UK. Unless you are going to run this kid off screens and have him shoot jumpers all day (which will only work for a while even if it hits them all) defenses will adjust, he doesn’t have the body to post up or finish at the rim if he can even get there. How is foot speed, can he defend out on the perimeter? Again not a power player down low. Polson is a pretty good example of what can happen if you stick it out. Derick seems to have far more upside to his game than Jarod and Jarod has a ring. He will have a superior understanding of UK’s system and what Cal expects from his players as a Junior and Senior. Plus his body should fill out and he will get stronger. If he is as good as some on this thread seem to think he is those things combined will give him an edge over any future McDonald’s super freshmen. If he were performing better than any of the players on the team playing the 3 spot he would be playing more. I say three because he doesn’t seem to have the handle to play the 2 and as I said defiantly does not have the body and strength to occupy the 4 spot. There is no anti “white” or another sentiment keeping him off the floor.
    If he is truly UK material it will work out well for him.

  28. ==== Lame Jounalistic Endeavour ! ====
    10:05 am January 25, 2014 Permalink

    ==== We ALL know the AWB (average white boy) or even the XWB (edxceptional white boy) has no place in KENTUCKY athletics (nee basketball) in the John (I coached at MEMPHRICA) Cal era !

    Practice mates (dummies) are the most we can hope for ……. until Mr. Squid hits the pavement !

    See ya …………. say adios ……. don’t let the door hit you in the ask !!!!!