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So we did not see Derek Willis today

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Going into the game, the eyes of the college basketball Twitter nation (quite a nation), as well as the Big Blue Nation, were on John Calipari–would he stick with the platoons with only one day of prep without Alex Poythress? And who would fill that void? Many rightly assumed that Trey Lyles would step into the blue platoon, at least in the beginning, but after that would we see a full white platoon including a guy who stepped in against Columbia, Derek Willis?

Well folks, today we saw no Willis at all. But did we still truly ‘platoon?’ This is weighing heavily on me. WAS THIS A PLATOON OR NOT?

According to Cal, it was. A platoon of 9. OK!

I platooned today with 9 guys. My plan was to give Derek (Willis) an opportunity to slide in and the game went the way it went and I just kept going the way we went, so he didn’t get that chance. But I thought that, again, he’s going to be fine.

My plan was to do what we did and then try to get Derek in on that third wave, because I think Derek has to be in with that veteran team to give him a true chance.

Q. ‘The substitution patterns today, not using Derek and all of that, is that a matter of survive today, and then spend the next two weeks figuring out how the subs and the platoons might work?’

“No, I mean you had one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight guys played 20 minutes and Marcus Lee played 12 and got eight points in 12 minutes. And the reason he played 12 is because Willie Cauley played 28. And Willie Cauley was really, he was “Willie good” today.”

So the flow of the game+Willie’s performance was responsible for the substitution strategy we saw today in Rupp, but will be returning to a ten-man platoon at any point this season? The suspense is killing me (and Derek).

Article written by Brennan English

Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. @BrennanKSR

12 Comments for So we did not see Derek Willis today



  1. AndTheDevil
    5:38 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    Hearing rumblings that Willis might transfer.



    • Katya
      6:18 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

      Those rumblings are a fart you need to let out already.



  2. shelby
    5:41 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    No dominique hawkins either. I think Cal would’ve poayed DW, but Lee and lyles were both really good– one of those would have to sit for derek to play.



  3. shelby
    5:54 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    Derek won’t transfer; he’ll have to redshirt if he does and he’s probably gonna play a LOT next year. He may even be a starter next year.



  4. sammydog
    6:04 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    Cal said yesterday he didn’t want to throw any player to the wolves. That wouldn’t be fair to the player. With Willis not playing a lot up to this point putting him out there against a team like Carolina with a national audience and expect him to perform is not a good thing. Better to get thru Dec with experienced guys and allow Willis to work his way in against Sec teams. He could be playing good minutes by March and developing confidence. Better for him this way.



    • BTownUKFan
      8:05 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing. Willis is just starting to develop the confidence to make plays when he’s on the court. The atmosphere today would have made it difficult to focus for the young guy. I think Willis will get his opportunity and I don’t think he is as concerned about it as Brennan English assumes he is.
      GO CATS !!



  5. msnthrop
    6:33 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    Why would anyone ever think that Derek Willis was going to ever get meaningful minutes as part of any UK basketball team? Isn’t it obvious what his role is?



    • Dickbutt
      6:58 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

      His role on the team is certainly more valuable than your role in the KSR comments section.



    • mrsaturdaypants
      7:03 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

      Yes! It’s shocking that anyone could even imagine that a forward who can pass and hit 3s could ever contribute at this level.



    • Leuther
      3:07 am December 14, 2014 Permalink

      I would have liked for Willis to have gotten a chance today. He’s earned it. Cal is “Jon Hooding” him. Wouldn’t blame Willis for transferring…



  6. Mc12
    6:33 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    Just like I said, not having AP will give Cal more flexibility versus different matchups. He will use Willis and Hawkins some but primarily he can now use his top 9 and get his scorers out there. AP is good. I like AP. He makes 4 or 5 plays a game that are great. Also he’s a good matchup versus certain players. However, this new flexibility will make UK even more dangerous.

    Also, I now believe that WCS is the best player in college basketball for what he does in all aspects of the game. I don’t think he will win the POY, but no team has a player like him.



  7. Ken Grizzle
    9:01 pm December 13, 2014 Permalink

    In Cal I trust. Words to live by. I want to see DW get minutes as much as anyone but in paying attention to things that Cal said concerning The Platoon System he finally said “winning is my top priority” and I’ll rotate anyway I think is necessary to do so. DW played pretty good against Columbia but I don’t think he would be as effective against The Tar Heels.