Tag: Derek Willis

Willis’ advice to future Cats: Embrace the Kentucky effect

Jami Young with Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins.


PIKEVILLE — Kentucky seniors Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis brought their “Kentucky Boys Tour” to Pikeville recently and both agreed to share insights on their careers. First, it’s Derek Willis.

Question: My first question is, what Big Blue Madness would you say is the most memorable for you and why?

Derek Willis: “I think probably my first Big Blue Madness mostly. It was whatever BBM Drake came to. It may have been my sophomore year Big Blue Madness. It was funny. Drake was goofing around in the lineups and at the layup line. It was great.”

MVP Willis scores 13 in Reese’s All-Star Game

PHOENIX – Awarded one final college game after a tremendous college career, Kentucky men’s basketball senior Derek Willis made the most of the of the opportunity Friday with a solid performance in the Reese’s College All-Star Game.

Willis recorded 13 points, a team-high eight rebounds, a block and a steal for the West Team in 21 minutes at the University of Phoenix Stadium, site of this year’s Final Four. Willis made 6 of 11 shots and was named the Reese’s Perfect Player from the West.

The East defeated the West 121-90 in the annual all-star game.

UK-Wichita State postgame notes, numbers

Derek Willis had eight rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot Sunday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes

Kentucky vs. Wichita State – NCAA Tournament Second Round

March 19, 2017, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Attendance: 18,293

Final Score: No. 2-seed Kentucky 65, No. 10-seed Wichita State 62                                                       

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky has won 13 in a row – its longest winning streak of the season — and improved to 31-5 overall.

o   Kentucky reached 31 wins for the fourth time in the John Calipari era.

Derek Willis was glad he got to posterize another player — and so were UK fans

Derek Willis (Photo by Chet White/UK Athletics)


Early in the second half Kentucky was needing a lift against South Carolina — and Derek Willis provided it with a monster dunk over a South Carolina defender.

Willis, never one to show an abundance of emotion on the court, roared after he came down. So did teammates on the bench while Rupp Arena fans went berserk.

“How about Derek’s dunk? I mean, that was crazy,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said after the 85-69 win.

Willis had 12 points and seven rebounds, but it was that dunk that stood out.

Willis knows physical South Carolina will try to “take us out of what we do”

Derek Willis (UK Athletics Photo)


Derek Willis remembers that Kentucky had a close game at South Carolina last year until the final 10 minutes of the game. What he didn’t exactly remember was that coach John Calipari got thrown out of that game in the opening minutes.

“I’m not sure if that was one of the games Coach got T’d up and ended up getting kicked out of the game. It was a hard game at first. It was real physical. It kind of took us some time to get used to it and then, like I said, we eventually broke away from them,” Willis said Friday.

Willis ready for fun stretch of games that includes trip to Bahamas

Derek Willis (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

Derek Willis (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)


Starting with this afternoon’s game against Cleveland State, senior Derek Willis says Kentucky has a fun stretch of games coming up.

“Cleveland State’s a good team. I haven’t really seen what they have or anything, but from what we’ve heard they’re a pretty good team. Friday—we play a game Friday, right? So don’t even know who (Tennessee-Martin) we play. I haven’t looked at that,” Willis said Tuesday.

“Where There’s a Willis, There’s a Way”

willis-frontBy LARRY VAUGHT

Tom Greenwell is a typical University of Kentucky basketball fan. He just happens to live in Mt. Washington in Bullitt County and has gone all-in for UK senior forward Derek Willis.

“I did not attend his high school games, but I first started taking notice of Derek when I heard that coach (Rick) Pitino and coach (John) Calipari were scouting him at the same game. Then I was really pleased to hear he was going to play at Kentucky,” said Greenwell.

New, improved Willis set tone in UK’s win

Derek Willis had 15 points Friday. (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)

Derek Willis had 15 points Friday. (Photo by Barry Westerman | UK Athletics)


Not only did he score 10 of Kentucky’s first 14 points, but he did it a variety of ways including a baseline fallaway jumper and a drive down the center of the lane.

Say hello to the new and better Derek Willis.

He finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal in 31 minutes in UK’s 87-64 victory Friday night over Stephen F. Austin.

However, Willis was more worried about some defensive rebounds he did not get.

Derek Willis likes team chemistry

Derek Willis pulls off a rebound against Clarion. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis pulls off a rebound against Clarion. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Derek Willis understands the value of how team chemistry can depend on what goes on during the offseason since he’s been through it four times. That’s why he knows this year’s team has good chemistry.

“I think it starts with our chemistry over the summer. I feel like everybody got to know each other really quickly, everybody liked each other. Not like it hasn’t been like that in the past, but we just play well together and working on communicating on the court. I don’t know. Just how our team is,” Willis said after Sunday’s exhibition win over Clarion.

Derek Willis knows he made a “huge mistake”

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)


Derek Willis knows the spotlight is going to be on him even more this season after his off-season alcohol-related arrest, and he’s ready for that.

“It has just really been a learning experience. I understand I made a huge mistake. It’s just one of those things. I talk to everyone the same way. When I am out in public, I am not Derek Willis the UK basketball player. It’s just more understanding who I am,” said Willis.

He was charged with alcohol intoxication during the summer.