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How much did it hurt to not have Derek Willis?


If I have one takeaway from today’s game, it’s that we really need Derek Willis’ ankle to get better. Without Derek on the floor to stretch out the offense, the Cats looked lost. Once Murray cooled off and proved he is, in fact, mortal, Kentucky’s weaknesses inside were painfully exposed. As Chris Fisher pointed out on Twitter, aside from Jamal Murray, UK is 0-17 from three-point land in their two games without Willis. He’s that critical to opening up the floor.

“Derek is a crucial part of our team,” Marcus Lee said. “He brings something that a lot of our bigs can’t. He spreads that court out wide, especially for Tyler and all our guards to get in the middle and it helps everything out. We’re hoping he gets back soon and we can start rolling again.”

John Calipari said he had no idea when Willis would be back (“Maybe he’ll take a picture of [his ankle] and let you guys know”). While Cal admitted that not having Derek today hurt, he pointed out that Derek didn’t exactly have the game of his life against the Commodores earlier this season, putting up 7 points off 2-8 shooting.

“Probably hurt us, but again, if he’s not fighting and rebounding and doing stuff, if you watch the game against them last time, he was not a factor. He was not a factor in that game, he made one jump shot.”

Still, for Kentucky to do anything in March, today’s performance proved we need that ankle to heal up.

Apologies for the quality, blame Periscope

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

7 Comments for How much did it hurt to not have Derek Willis?

  1. AndTheDevil
    7:34 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t think the Willis that played against Vandy then is the same Willis as the one now. Weird comparison. Hell, Willis did literally nothing against Vandy last year, why not bring that up?

  2. Long Dong Silver
    7:57 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    So, I guess Cal is pissed at Willis again. I wish Cal would just ask him to transfer. Jesus I’m tired of Cal bitching at Willis for nothing.

  3. WheelerBear
    8:44 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Without Willis we are a bubble team at best. Cal taking jabs at him like that isn’t cool at all. Remember players first, not coaching ego

  4. RogerW
    2:47 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    HMMM, not a factor in the first game. Played 30 minutes. If he was not a factor why did he get so many minutes? Maybe his 7 rebounds were a factor. Maybe the fact that, even though his shot was off that game, the defense still had to respect the fact that he can nail the three which open up things for other players. If he is only looking at lack of points or missed shots when considering whether a player is a factor, then Briscoe would be considered a non factor in many games this year. Of course we know that Briscoe brings other things to the table. We could also look at all the other players that were non factors in other games and blame them I guess.

    Call it like it is. If Ulis makes 45% of his shots, we win. We basically had one player have a good game and still had a chance late. Not having Derek hurt, but if the players that did play had showed up, we would’ve won.

  5. Jiminy Crickets
    11:04 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    Coach Cal digging at Willis is getting old. The truth is Cal does not want Willis to be good. He’s not one of the NBA prospects that he brought in, therefore him overplaying guys like poythress and skal hurts his recruiting. You can tell in the way you talk about him, we have only one score of the entire team, no one else can hit a three-point shot. Cal comes out and says Willis is a non-factor, about to be asking what skal’s play look like yesterday he would tell you “he’s getting better”. Willis is comparable to Harrelson and wiltjer, if you look back in those seasons and listen to Cal all you ever heard was how bad they played regardless of how many points, rebound or effort that they put out. It wasn’t until the end of the year that Calipari started taking credit for Harrelson’s development and starting to say that he was in NBA prospect, and that things are calling for him. One of two things will happen in this off-season, Willis wheeler transfer because he’s tired of it, or teams will actually start calling about Willis because it is outside shooting in the fact that he 6’9″ and then Cal can start talking about how you developed an unknown prospect into an NBA player

  6. kyle heavy
    12:40 pm February 28, 2016 Permalink

    Cal obviously knows something we do not know about Derek Willis. Im telling myself that only because he can’t possibly be constantly dogging Willis, otherwise.

  7. rhall4321
    3:34 pm February 28, 2016 Permalink

    CAL treats 1 and done players different in the media ! He may treat them all the same in practise but I have never heard him say anything negative about SKAL in the media ! He has made several negative statements about Derek to the press. I think he would like Derek to transfer so he can make room for anther 5 star. I can tell you he is wasting his time Derek Willis loves it at UK and isn’t going anywhere !