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Derek Willis has no regrets over not being redshirted last season

By LARRY VAUGHT

When all the rumors surfaced that freshman Derek Willis might be contemplating a transfer from Kentucky, his former high school coach at Bullitt East quickly denied it.

“I watched his body language on the bench and just like any freshman, if you are not a superstar like you were on your high school team you have to bide your time,” said Troy Barr. “His body language may not have been the greatest all the time, but during the NCAA it was obvious he was having a lot of fun seeing his teammates have success. In many cases, he was the first guy standing up and running out to greet them.”

Willis and his family both denied the transfer rumors, and there’s been no indication that he ever planned to leave UK. In fact, Willis said he had no regrets about not being redshirted last season despite playing just 39 minutes in the 14 games he played.

“No, I have no regrets over not redshirting. This has been a good learning experience,” Willis said at the Final Four. “I didn’t want to waste a year being a redshirt and just going to school. I might as well travel with the team and pick up what I can.

“Actually, just learning the plays and common stuff was not as easy as some think. Just getting used to a new system takes time. I have been working on my shot. Back in high school I would shoot it really flat and now I am trying to get more loft under it, so that’s one big way this season helped me.

“I have learned a lot academically and athletically. It has been a good learning experience and next year I will be ready to play a lot, lot more hopefully.”

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8 comments

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    We all will enjoy seeing you on the Court …keep working hard !

  2. Phillip Barker

    No doubt in my mind that Derek will really shine this coming year…just too talented not to!

  3. Rod

    We hope to see you on the court more too the next three years!!! Thanks for being a cat!

    1. larryvaught

      Lot of time left for Willis to make huge contributions for Cats

  4. Rod

    Enjoyed and agreed with your comments this morning on Toms show too. Especially re Derrick and red shirting. Thx for football coverage too, look forward to more wins this year.

    1. larryvaught

      Thanks Rod for listening and the kind words

  5. lanny forbis

    I was disappointed that Coach Cal did not play you a lot last year. I was really wanting to see you on the court and watch you play. If you did transfer I would not blame you at all. From what I have seen on some of your high school videos and what I have read about you , you are to talented not to be playing. Us BBN fans are glad you are not transferring. Coach Cal just did not want to be put in another season of where UK did not make the big dance 2 years in a row. I am sure you will be seeing a lot more playing time this coming season. It’s my opinion that UK will have the deepest bench in the NCAA. I am really excited to see this season’s team play. Hang with Coach Cal and you will be wearing that NCAA Championship Ring on your finger before you go to the NBA and as Uncle SI says on Duck Dynasty “And that’s a fact Jack”

    1. Larry T Clemons

      Well said and great advice …

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