Javier Morales took first place in the 2010 Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. For a different look at University of Arizona sports, check out Javier’s unique Web site: WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
LAS VEGAS — When Derrick Williams was preparing to play his first season at Arizona in 2009, he was asked during Media Day what position he expected to play the most for the Wildcats and new coach Sean Miller.
“I want to play out on the wing,” Williams said. “I feel like I can play the best out there, because I can shoot it from outside, but I will do whatever Coach Miller needs me to do.”
The Wildcats, strapped for frontcourt players, needed Williams to fill the role as a power forward and he gained weight accordingly, listed as high as 245 pounds. Williams, who stands at 6-foot-8, played as a power forward with a small-forward mindset in most of his two years at Arizona.
Now, entering his second season in the NBA, Williams is trying to reverse what his role became at Arizona. Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and his staff want Williams to play more in the open court, handle the ball at the wing and make things happen by playing aggressively with the shot and the pass.
“I do want to dominate, but it’s not really about scoring 30 points,” Williams said after playing an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Arena with the Timberwolves. “I just want to stay efficient, making shots I know I can make and just really stay consistent.
“I’m trying to get my assists up too. I’m trying to do a little more of everything and be more complete.”
More assists? Williams had 65 of those in 69 games in his two years with Arizona. In 66 games last season with Minnesota — almost equaling his total with the Wildcats — Williams only had 35 assists.