So, can we consider Derrick Williams a top 150 freshman now?by Anthony Gimino on Feb. 01, 2010, under Sports
Given the overwhelming success of Arizona freshman post player Derrick Williams, I was curious to check exactly how he stacked up in last year’s recruiting rankings.
I went to Rivals.com and clicked on the list of the top 150 prospects.
I found Latavious Williams at No. 17.
Shawn Williams was at No. 67.
Jordan Williams at No. 85.
Rodney Williams at No. 100.
And Erik Williams checked in at No. 104.
So, basically, Derrick Williams was, at best, considered the sixth-best player in the country with his surname.
Turns out, he might be about the sixth-best freshman in the country.
And he wasn’t even on the Rivals.com list of the top 150 prospects.
This is just another of those “you never know” moments, like the one that finds Arizona tied for first with Cal in the Pac-10 halfway through the conference season. You never know.
Williams had scored at least 20 points in four consecutive games before Sunday’s game against Cal, which turned out just fine as Arizona won 76-72 at McKale Center. Williams had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s really an amazing player right now for us,” UA coach Sean Miller said after Thursday’s win over Stanford.
“I have a hard time believing there are many freshmen in college basketball who are better than Derrick or who are impacting their team more than him. It’s just great to see.”
The list of impact freshmen better than Williams is becoming an increasingly short list.
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There are John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, who led Kentucky to a 19-0 start. Avery Bradley of Texas and Xavier Henry of Kansas have been key players for teams that have been ranked No. 1.
The Kentucky guys are in a class by themselves, but after that, Williams is right in the discussion.
The difference among those five players mentioned is that four were can’t-miss prospects, either ranked in the national top 10, or top five or No. 1.
Consider this: Williams wasn’t ranked among the Pac-10′s top 20 incoming recruits by Rivals.com.
Some of this is Williams’ opportunity meeting ability and coachability … and some of this is to make a mockery of the recruiting rankings. The two best freshman in the Pac-10 — Williams and Washington State point guard Reggie Moore — weren’t in Rivals’ top 150.
The consensus — unanimous? — preseason freshman of the year in the Pac-10 was ex-Arizona commit and Washington signee Abdul Gaddy. The guard has yet to find his offensive rhythm and is no threat from 3-point range, disappointing so far.
You never know.
Meanwhile, Moore is slicing through Pac-10 zones at will and Williams is drop-stepping and spinning and dunking and averaging 15.9 points and 7.3 points per game.
“He has definitely surpassed status as a freshman,” Miller said, “and I really think that he is one of the best players in our conference.”
Williams is getting stronger, averaging 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds through nine conference games.
“One of the things with Derrick Williams is his consistency,” Miller said.
“The last piece for him is to become an improved defender and a player who gives a lot of effort on every play. Although he has a long way to go in that area, he is a far cry from where he used to be.
“He is very coachable and a fantastic kid. I couldn’t imagine where we would be without him.”
Not in a tie for first place, that’s for sure.
Pac-10 recruits who were ranked in the national 150 by Rivals.com
No. 13 — G Abdul Gaddy, Washington
No. 27 — F Solomon Hill, Arizona
No. 28 — F Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
No. 49 — F Brendan Lane, UCLA
No. 68 — G Lamont Jones, Arizona
No. 76 — G Jared Cunningham, Oregon State
No. 78 — G Roberto Nelson, Oregon State
No. 80 — G Trent Lockett, Arizona State
No. 81 — C Kyryl Natyazhko, Arizona
No. 86 — F Reeves Nelson, UCLA
No. 92 — F Mike Moser, UCLA
No. 94 — F Jamil Wilson, Oregon
No. 106 — G Xavier Thames, Washington State
No. 108 — G C.J. Wilcox, Washington
No. 114 — F Victor Rudd, Arizona State
No. 115 — G Demetrius Walker, Arizona State
No. 122 — F Kevin Parrom, Arizona
No. 130 — F Joe Burton, Oregon State
No. 144 — C Anthony Stover, UCLA
No. 147 — F Clarence Trent, Washington
(note the lack of Derrick Williams and Reggie Moore on the list)