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Derek Willis “puts his heart into everything he does” — including Pilates

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)


Keely Potts insists that Kentucky senior Derek Willis has a lot more personality than fans or media members see when he’s being interviewed.

“He has a personality but you don’t really see it. Behind closed doors he won’t shut up,” said Potts, Willis’ girlfriend.

Certainly not when they have their “boxing” matches.

“We hit a punching bag at boxing and then have Soc-em boxers. It gets a little crazy. I feel like I am playing with my dad when I was little. It’s like going back in time. It’s not a legit fight, but we both get into it pretty good,” Potts said.

They have even shot basketball together.

“I am terrible. So bad. Probably boosts him up. He’s a lot better than me. I just help his confidence and make him think he’s even better,” Potts laughed and said.

She knows he’s a superb card player. He was a nationally ranked Yu-Gi-Oh player. That’s a Japanese collectible card game based on the fictional game of Duel Monsters.

“I feel like he can read things. The first two years at UK, if you go back and watch you will see him on the sidelines and he knows everything that is going on and what is really going to happen. He really knows his basketball just like he does his cards,” Potts said.

His diversity does not stop there.

“Even with rock, paper, scissors and stuff like that, he likes it all,” she said.

Potts recalled an Australian vacation where her great aunt and uncle went to a few Pilates classes in Chatswood Sydney, and her and Willis went also.

“He went on opposite side of me and got so into this class. It was a lot of older women and it was like this white-haired woman was bending like crazy and Derek was getting so frustrated because she was so flexible compared to him,” Potts said.

“He kept asking how this woman could do all this and he couldn’t. He kept trying and stayed after a little bit and worked on it. He puts his heart into everything he does.”


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  1. I can’t wait to see Willis this year….If his progress is steady, We will have A great Player in Willis ! I say Top 15 when He is Drafted….” He Can Achieve that or better “

  2. This is a very cute story and am glad that Derek is apparently a one woman man. She is really another member of the team by giving him all this support and keeping him balanced as well. Derek should really open it up this year and am looking forward to his contribution.

  3. Great article. I love the stories that actually tells us about the kids, the girlfriends and boyfriends and parents.

  4. He is going to be a very important factor next season. Would like to see him bulk up a little more and take a leadership role.

  5. When Derek was a freshman he was one of my “My Guys”….I was so excited about him. He seemed to have everything that was needed to play on the court…and then…well…we know what happened Freedman and Sophomore years…needless to say I was heartbroken. Dakari ended up being #1 My Guy and Derek kind of slipped out of the picture.

    Last year, the boy became a man thanks to Keely Potts…I still wonder if we are related.
    I am even more excited to see him play this year and so wish we had another year to see him strut his stuff…

    1. With you Linda. Believe Derek could have huge year

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