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Derek Willis learned business part of basketball last season

Derek Willis (Jeff Houchin Photo)


His first year in the G League was best described as “up and down” by former Kentucky player Derek Willis.

He averaged 11.8 points. 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game for Grand Rapids and shot 47 percent from the field in 43 games.

“I think the biggest thing I learned was just understanding the business part of it,” said Willis, who is still not certain about his playing plans for next season. “There is so much more to it than just playing basketball. I kind of got my head wrapped around it better now. The G League was cool and fun at times. It was a lot different than UK.”

Willis will marry Keely Potts — remember he proposed to her before his Senior Day game — on Saturday. One of his groomsmen will be Landry Nnoko, a teammate at Grand Rapids who was the G League Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league in rebounds (11.5) and was fourth in blocks per game (2.06). He had 27 double-doubles in 49 games and averaged 14.7 points per game.

“He had a great season and never got called up (to the NBA) all year,” Willis said. “I will most likely play overseas next season. I can’t do the G League again. I know they would be upping my salary next season but the money is a lot better overseas. I should get a lot better contract overseas. Now I wish I had done that coming out of UK really. I just want to find a place to go, get a chance to play and show what I can do.”

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