Derek, Keely Willis bit surprised by coronavirus reaction here after return from Germany

Derek and Keely Willis planned to stay in Ulm, Germany, but are back in Kentucky now after his season was suspended.


When his season was suspended in Germany until the end of April, former Kentucky basketball player Derek Willis and his wife, Keely, decided it would be best to change their plans to continue living in Germany a few more years and return home.

It wasn’t easy for them to get back to Kentucky but they made it home earlier this week and are now staying with Keely’s parents in Elizabethtown.

The couple did get one surprise when they got back home — the reaction to the coronavirus is far different here than in Ulm, Germany, where they lived.

“I would say people are still concerned in Germany about it obviously and things are now shut down pretty much except for grocery stores and pharmacies,” Keely Willis said. “But over here it is more don’t come around me and don’t do this people are freaking out more here. Derek’s teammates in Germany are in sort of a quarantine but are having individual workouts.”

When the duo returned to the United State, the Center for Disease Control them legally they were not confined to stay inside for two weeks but basically to be “smart” and the two are doing that.

“But some folks are taking things to the extreme here and if you are not taking it to the same extreme they are hating on you and there is a lot of negative stuff being thrown around on social media,” Keely said.

Germany had shut down sporting events, concerts or anything else that might attract 1,000 or more people. But the panic buying was not going on in Germany like it has here.

“German grocery stores are not open on Sundays any time. Depending on the day you go to the store, things might not be restocked but that’s the way it always is,” Keely said. “So the stores didn’t look any different when we left. You could still go get about anything you wanted

“When we got back, we did go to the store and even found toilet paper and most everything else. A lot of frozen veggies were missing but there just is not all the freaking out in Germany like there is here. More people in Germany are coming together and just trying to figure things out.”

Derek Willis was having another solid season, one he said he was enjoying a lot but he knew coming back to Kentucky now was the right decision.

“I think we would have been fine in Germany but not knowing what might happen with basketball or anything else, we just thought it was best to come back now and fortunately we were able to get things worked out to get home just in case things do get a lot worse,” Derek said.

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