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  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by UKMustangFan View Post
    Absolutely accurate. Also, the main thing that he's overlooking is that the reason he was getting pulled was because he would have defensive and mental breakdowns. The last 4-5 games, those breakdowns haven't been occurring. Cal has always said if you're a defensive liability, he can't hide you with the system they run. It seems obvious to me that the defensive side of the ball is where Willis was losing out on PT earlier.
    I still see the same defensive mistakes as before. However now he doesn't get pulled as soon as it happens and he gets beat. I think it's more Cal realized that yes Willis is not strong on defense, but he is willing to live with it because he has seen that Willis does bring other positive things to the court. Which he has gotten to show because of playing more.

    You all seem to be forgetting what even caused Coach Cal to have to play Willis more. It was because of Skal sucking and Lee and Poythress always in foul trouble. So he wasn't able to be pulled right away for a mistake on defense and showed how he can help in other ways. If it wasn't for those other things happening Willis never gets those extended minutes in the first place to prove he can do it. It took those things happening and him getting more time and experience on the court to show it.
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  2. #32

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    You all may be completely right, and everything you all said could be true. However I look at it like this, and its in the same way as it was for Josh Harrellson. He was a player that honestly never showed much during his time at UK during his short stints as a player and only thing he was known for was he was a big guy who could shoot a little from the outside and nothing else. However he was never given an opportunity to show much else either until his senior year. Which honestly even his senior year, he would have been a guy who probably only played if Enes Kanter was in foul trouble and we all probably would have held our breath hoping he doesn't mess things up during those few minutes he was in because he wouldn't have gotten better or shown us much by the limited minutes he would have played as a backup center. However since Kanter was never allowed to play, it forced coach Cal to have to play Harellson. Which Harellson then got to prove that he was able to do a lot more than we ever knew he could do. It was after getting to play more minutes and getting that experience that he showed he was able to do a lot of things to help that team and as the year went on he kept getting better. If Kanter does play that year, Harrellson doesn't play much at all and probably doesn't look as good as he ended up doing that year.

    Which that is my point with Willis. Willis could have been practicing better and all of that, but he probably never gets extended minutes to show that he can help in other areas if it wasn't for Skal sucking, and Lee and Poythress going through a stretch of always being in foul trouble. It forced Cal to give Willis true extended minutes, and with those extended minutes Willis was able to show a lot more than he ever did during his 1 to 2 minutes and getting pulled as soon as he made a defensive mistake. Which he still makes defensive mistakes, but Coach Cal does live it with now because the other things he does well helps the team more than playing someone else.

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by futurecoach View Post
    You all may be completely right, and everything you all said could be true. However I look at it like this, and its in the same way as it was for Josh Harrellson. He was a player that honestly never showed much during his time at UK during his short stints as a player and only thing he was known for was he was a big guy who could shoot a little from the outside and nothing else. However he was never given an opportunity to show much else either until his senior year. Which honestly even his senior year, he would have been a guy who probably only played if Enes Kanter was in foul trouble and we all probably would have held our breath hoping he doesn't mess things up during those few minutes he was in because he wouldn't have gotten better or shown us much by the limited minutes he would have played as a backup center. However since Kanter was never allowed to play, it forced coach Cal to have to play Harellson. Which Harellson then got to prove that he was able to do a lot more than we ever knew he could do. It was after getting to play more minutes and getting that experience that he showed he was able to do a lot of things to help that team and as the year went on he kept getting better. If Kanter does play that year, Harrellson doesn't play much at all and probably doesn't look as good as he ended up doing that year.

    Which that is my point with Willis. Willis could have been practicing better and all of that, but he probably never gets extended minutes to show that he can help in other areas if it wasn't for Skal sucking, and Lee and Poythress going through a stretch of always being in foul trouble. It forced Cal to give Willis true extended minutes, and with those extended minutes Willis was able to show a lot more than he ever did during his 1 to 2 minutes and getting pulled as soon as he made a defensive mistake. Which he still makes defensive mistakes, but Coach Cal does live it with now because the other things he does well helps the team more than playing someone else.
    Cal often says to his players "make me play you" and "you have to create your own confidence". Willis has done both. My only knock on Derek going back to his high school days was his lack of physicality and his desire to sit down and play defense. While his defense has a way to go the improvement is dramatic.

    Nothing has been handed to Willis, Cal has been very tough on him. Maybe that's what it took to get him to this point.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by THE SHERIFF View Post
    Cal often says to his players "make me play you" and "you have to create your own confidence". Willis has done both. My only knock on Derek going back to his high school days was his lack of physicality and his desire to sit down and play defense. While his defense has a way to go the improvement is dramatic.

    Nothing has been handed to Willis, Cal has been very tough on him. Maybe that's what it took to get him to this point.
    I don't disagree with this. I honestly never saw him play in high school as I have never been a UK needs ky boys. I just want players that helps this team wins. That is why a few weeks ago even before others started noticing Willis, I was saying how this team seems to play better when he is in.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by futurecoach View Post
    I don't disagree with this. I honestly never saw him play in high school as I have never been a UK needs ky boys. I just want players that helps this team wins. That is why a few weeks ago even before others started noticing Willis, I was saying how this team seems to play better when he is in.
    I follow the Bullitt East program very closely and saw 90% of Dereks games during his career. His skill set is unique for a 6'9"skinny white kid. Even as a sophomore he would make plays occasionally that were shocking.

    He arrived at Uk with a loaded class, and the talent kept coming. When you try to compare yourself with the likes of Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl Townes and a host of other NBA players it's easy to question your talent and lose some drive.

    With all he's been through I really believe that he is in a great place mentally and will be a solid contributor for the rest of his career. Just needs to add 20lbs.

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