Tag Archive: Derek Willis

Willis knows physical South Carolina will try to “take us out of what we do”

Derek Willis (UK Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Derek Willis remembers that Kentucky had a close game at South Carolina last year until the final 10 minutes of the game. What he didn’t exactly remember was that coach John Calipari got thrown out of that game in the opening minutes.

“I’m not sure if that was one of the games Coach got T’d up and ended up getting kicked out of the game. It was a hard game at first. It was real physical. It kind of took us some time to get used to it and then, like I said, we eventually broke away from them,” Willis said Friday.

Willis ready for fun stretch of games that includes trip to Bahamas

Derek Willis (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

Derek Willis (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Starting with this afternoon’s game against Cleveland State, senior Derek Willis says Kentucky has a fun stretch of games coming up.

“Cleveland State’s a good team. I haven’t really seen what they have or anything, but from what we’ve heard they’re a pretty good team. Friday—we play a game Friday, right? So don’t even know who (Tennessee-Martin) we play. I haven’t looked at that,” Willis said Tuesday.

“Where There’s a Willis, There’s a Way”

willis-frontBy LARRY VAUGHT

Tom Greenwell is a typical University of Kentucky basketball fan. He just happens to live in Mt. Washington in Bullitt County and has gone all-in for UK senior forward Derek Willis.

“I did not attend his high school games, but I first started taking notice of Derek when I heard that coach (Rick) Pitino and coach (John) Calipari were scouting him at the same game. Then I was really pleased to hear he was going to play at Kentucky,” said Greenwell.

New, improved Willis set tone in UK’s win

Derek Willis had 15 points Friday. (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

Derek Willis had 15 points Friday. (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Not only did he score 10 of Kentucky’s first 14 points, but he did it a variety of ways including a baseline fallaway jumper and a drive down the center of the lane.

Say hello to the new and better Derek Willis.

He finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal in 31 minutes in UK’s 87-64 victory Friday night over Stephen F. Austin.

However, Willis was more worried about some defensive rebounds he did not get.

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)

By LARRY VAUGHT

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.

Derek Willis knows he made a “huge mistake”

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Derek Willis knows the spotlight is going to be on him even more this season after his off-season alcohol-related arrest, and he’s ready for that.

“It has just really been a learning experience. I understand I made a huge mistake. It’s just one of those things. I talk to everyone the same way. When I am out in public, I am not Derek Willis the UK basketball player. It’s just more understanding who I am,” said Willis.

He was charged with alcohol intoxication during the summer.

Jacob Hyde again takes time to reach out to young fan

Courtney Love, Jacob Hyde, Drew Barker and De'Niro Laster visited Brendan Murphy this week.

Courtney Love, Jacob Hyde, Drew Barker and De’Niro Laster visited Brendan Murphy in the UK Children’s Hospital.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Before Kentucky played South Carolina on Saturday, 9-year-old Brendan Murphy of Corbin kept trying to use FaceTime. His mother, Jennifer, thought he was trying to reach family members of friends.

Finally she found out he was reaching out to UK football player Jacob Hyde, one of four football players who came to visit him when he was in the UK Children’s Hospital because of a complex case of MRSA (a contagious and antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria that leads to potentially dangerous infection) in his bloodstream.

Dortch: Holdovers always bode well for UK’s next season

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook editor Chris Dortch understands why some fans seem to almost have a hatred of Kentucky basketball.

“Fan is just short for fanatic and can mean Looney-Tunes,” said Dortch. “If you are like me and appreciate basketball and understand why people of Kentucky appreciate basketball, you can appreciate Kentucky fans’ appreciation of their program.”

Dortch expects John Calipari to have another team UK fans will appreciate this season, especially with the return of sophomore Isaiah Briscoe.

Robic stays mum on recent incident

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky assistant coach John Robic was not going to say anything Monday to bring more attention to Derek Willis’ recent arrest for public intoxication. Willis spent a few hours in jail and has since been ordered to perform community service to wipe out the complain.

During the SEC coaches teleconference where Robic filled in for John Calipari since he was on a flight home from Spain where he watched UK recruiting targets play for Team USA, Robic was asked about Willis’ status.

“I really can’t comment on that at this time,” Robic said.

Briscoe, seniors already providing leadership

Isaiah Briscoe (Vicky Graff Photo)

Isaiah Briscoe (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky has one of the nation’s best basketball recruiting classes again. Of course, that  means UK needs a team leader.

Clearly that was Tyler Ulis last season, but he’s gone to the NBA. So who is going to be the leader next season?

“I think right now Isaiah Briscoe has done a really, really good job of leading this group,” Kentucky assistant coach John Robic said Monday on the SEC coaches teleconference (John Calipari was flying back from Spain after watching recruiting targets play for Team USA).

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