Derek Willis got to play with former Cats last season in Germany

Derek Willis, left, and Dominique Hawkins lived only 17 miles apart while playing in Germany on different teams last season.


One plus from playing in Germany last season for former Kentucky player Derrick Willis  was having former UK teammate Isaiah Briscoe on his team for a few months.

“It was good to catch up with him and see how he has grown as a person and player,” Willis said.

Another former UK player, Archie Goodwin, was also Willis’ teammate and his former UK teammate, Dominique Hawkins, played in a different league but lived only about 17 miles away from Willis and his wife, Keely.

She also volunteered to coach a basketball team for players with special needs and often convinced her husband to help her.

“After he would get done with his practice, our team would practice and sometimes Derek would run around with the guys and play basketball,” Keely said. “If he was not there, I would play.”

The couple spent time trying to learn the German language, a necessity for Keely to get an office job. She says the players’ wives and girlfriends were all “close” and she also picked up a new hobby — photography.

“I really want to try and make a career out of photography to make the most of the situation I am in since I can’t do what most of my friends back in the States do job-wise,” she said.

“Fortunately, I got to travel a lot, too. We are 40 minutes from Switzerland, 45 minutes from Austria, four hours from Italy and a couple of hours from France. We are near everything. So I had a lot to keep me busy, including figuring things out for Derek’s nutrition. But I really did love being there and would not mind going back at all.”

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