By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s not easy to tick off former Kentucky basketball player Derek Willis — but ESPN analyst Dan Dakich did it Sunday.
The former Indiana player and coach tweeted Sunday that he thought college athletes like Willis can afford tattoos and don’t deserve any extra money as a student-athlete because of that.
“Remember folks NCAA Basketball and Football players can’t afford to eat and are “broke”.. those big tats free?” Dakich posted on Twitter along with a photo of Willis and his tattoos.
It didn’t take long for Willis to respond on Twitter by noting he had “saved my financial aid money over the years but appreciate all the free t shirts NCAA gave me.”
If you are surprised that Dakich wouldn’t let it go, then you must also think donkeys fly. He couldn’t resist bringing up the public intoxication charge against Willis before his senior season.
“That’s great .. guessing the education wasn’t bad..coaches standing behind you giving u a 2nd chance after an embarrassing situation was good?” Dakich tweeted.
Enough was enough for Keely Potts, Willis’ fiancee. She’s not one to let anyone take shots at him and she fired back at Dakich.
“Reporters upset about student athletes spending THEIR money on tattoos. I would rather it be tattoos than drugs #youarestupid, @dandakich,” Potts tweeted.
She noted he should be able to spend money that he deserved however he wanted and that he never said he was a broke college student.
“They can spend the little money they do get however they want. Let’s tweet about something that actually needs to be talked about. These college players bring in more money than ANY one realizes and gets nothing for it,” Potts tweeted.
Wait. Potts wasn’t done.
“Also attacking someone’s tattoos that resemble their heritage, Alzheimer’s, and Progeria is probably the most pathetic thing I’ve seen,” Potts said on Twitter.
Then this final zinger at Dakich from Potts.
“Someone give this guy a real job please,” Potts posted.
Kentucky fans didn’t like what Dakich did to Willis, either, even if Dakich tried to soothe fans’ feelings by reposting a tweet from over a year ago where he indicated he thought Willis — an undrafted free agent who signed with Detroit — would be a NBA player. Kentucky fans were not fooled.
“You attack young people who’ve made mistakes, are mature enough to OWN them & do great work w/children in the community? Pretty shallow Dan,” Matt DiLorenzo of Pro Player Solutions posted on Twitter.
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make noise? Dan Dakich tweets are samplings in an empty forest,” Dennis Foust said on Twitter.
“He was also tweeting the “other” Derek Willis account, who has nothing to do w/UK basketball￼. Best thing is, that guy made Dan look dumb, too,” Heather Bartley added on Twitter.
In fairness, I’m no Dakich fan because of a run-in I had with him at a UK-Michigan NCAA Tournament game. His son played for Michigan and lost to Kentucky. He’s also had a run-in with my long-time buddy, Oscar Combs.
But to just randomly single out Willis for this criticism with no reason makes it easy to see why Potts feels that Dakich needs a “real job” because of how he does the job he has now.