Derek Willis likes team chemistry

Derek Willis pulls off a rebound against Clarion. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis pulls off a rebound against Clarion. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Derek Willis understands the value of how team chemistry can depend on what goes on during the offseason since he’s been through it four times. That’s why he knows this year’s team has good chemistry.

“I think it starts with our chemistry over the summer. I feel like everybody got to know each other really quickly, everybody liked each other. Not like it hasn’t been like that in the past, but we just play well together and working on communicating on the court. I don’t know. Just how our team is,” Willis said after Sunday’s exhibition win over Clarion.

Willis had 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting against Clarion. He also had four rebounds, two blocked shots and an assist. Last season he averaged 7.7 points and four rebounds per game. He did shoot 50 percent from 3-point range in SEC play.

Willis, a senior, knows coach John Calipari has a variety of lineup options this year that could or could not include him.

“I think it’s going to go game by game, week by week. Kind of see who’s playing well, who’s playing with the most energy, who’s being most efficient on the defensive end, stuff like that. It could change,” Willis said.

“I think it just goes back to everybody getting the feel of the gym and the atmosphere and all that. Still got a lot of things to work on. Coach Cal said we gave up nine 3s (against Clarion) and that’s not good. We’ll talk it over, watch film. We can kind of see where our mistakes were and just correct those.

“We’re really fast. We just have to work on some things but we’ll get there.”

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