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Hurting Willis “didn’t play that hard” but scored 25

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis had a career-high 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field in Thursday’s win over Tennessee. But he said not only was he hurting physically, but he didn’t even play that hard.

On how much he is hurting …
“My knees feel like—oh, they just feel horrible. And was it yesterday I twisted my ankle? Maybe it was today. I don’t even know. I can’t get my body healthy right now.”

On the quick turnaround with a game Saturday night at Texas A&M…
“Just a lot of rest tomorrow and get some treatment on my body and get ready for that game. That’s it.”

On how much he hurts when he’s on the court …
“The worst thing is when you come out and you sit and you just kind of chill out for a little bit and your adrenaline goes down and you try and get back out there. It’s just like—it hurts so bad. But just try to play through it and just do something.”

On what kind of treatment he gets …
“It’s called stim (electrical stimulation). It’s like shock treatment, like electric, and then heat, ice tub, hot tub. I literally do everything. I’m in there all the time.”

On how much time he spends getting treatment …
“An hour to two hours a day.”

On Calipari saying he’s not at his ceiling yet …
“Like tonight I didn’t even really play hard. I hate to say that, but I didn’t feel like I played hard. I’m just being honest. I’m not trying to put it on my body right now because it feels like crap, but I just didn’t play hard. I feel like I could have gotten more rebounds. I feel like I could have played better defense. The (Armani) Moore kid, I feel like I could have done a better job on him. There was a lot of defensive lapses that I had. Thankfully I was just hitting shots because if not I feel like Coach would have been up in me a little bit.”


  1. Poor kid. I know what those knee problems are like. I messed up both playing football and they still hurt. They hurt worse now than they did way back when.

    He’s right that he had a couple of breakdowns on defense but most of the night he did really well on D. No one is perfect and injuries can sure slow you down. But I saw the effort he put in. He just didn’t get into position like he normally does. He still played good defense though. It’s just that he’s been playing great defense. He still keys a lot of steals and he alters a lot of shots. His defense has been a huge part of this team’s turnaround. Now with his shooting eye really starting to settle in he could be the All American candidate I always said he could be. He really is that good. CBS picked Kyle Wiltjer as their pre-season player of the year. And Willis is better than Kyle by a significant margin. I don’t want to knock Kyle but Willis is just that good.

  2. Who would have thought last year or the year before that the Bullet Co Bomber would play through pain the way he did last night. I saw him winch a couple times but had no idea he was in as much pain as he says he is.
    He put on a show last night that was amazing with those 3’s dropping. I’m so proud of the Kentucky boy playing for Kentucky…every boys dream.
    Derek has his dream and I am so happy for him. He has been the missing piece that Cal was looking for just like he said. I turn in more to watch Derek now than the team. He makes everyone on that team better. Tyler does also but that is Tyler’s job.

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