In an announcement as surprising as the sun rising in the East, Arizona Wildcats sophomore Derrick Williams was selected the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Monday.
The award was his from the moment he rose up and swatted away the potential game-winning shot from Washington’s Darnell Gant in the final second of Saturday’s game at McKale Center. The Wildcats won 87-86.
Williams finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds vs. the Huskies.
Two nights earlier, the 6-8 forward had 26 points and eight rebounds in a win over Washington State. He was 12 of 12 from the free throw line in that game.
His performance and his clutch play — don’t forget the late 3-pointer against the Huskies — have been earning Williams all kinds of national pats on the back.
ESPN’s Andy Katz selected Williams as his national player of the week, writing on ESPN.com that: “Williams should be a first-team All-American and the Pac-10 Player of the Year after his performance this past week. He also should start looking at some dates in June because if he keeps up this play, he’s going to be one of the first three names called at the NBA draft.”
During the Washington game, ESPN’s Jay Bilas wrote on Twitter: “Arizona’s Derrick Williams has had some ridiculously athletic dunks this year. The most efficient star performer in the country.”
Seth Davis of CBS and Sports Illustrated tweeted: “If you want to argue Derrick Williams is the best pro prospect in college hoops, I won’t put up a fight. Still tons of room to get better.”
For the season, Williams is averaging 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds. He is shooting 63.1 percent from the field, 67.5 percent from 3-point range (27 of 40) and 75.4 percent from the free throw line. He has attempted a staggering 248 free throws, only 16 away from the school’s single-season record of 264 held by Khalid Reeves (1993-94).
Williams is the 11th Arizona player to win Pac-10 weekly honors at least three times in his career. The others, with how many times they won:
7 — Sean Elliott
7 — Chris Mills
5 — Salim Stoudamire
4 — Jason Terry
3 — Steve Kerr
3 — Khalid Reeves
3 — Miles Simon
3 — Michael Dickerson
3 — Jason Gardner
3 — Hassan Adams
Javier Morales of WildAboutAZCats.com and TucsonCitizen.com has the full list of Arizona’s Pac-10 weekly winners (not yet including Williams’ award from Monday).
More Arizona basketball coverage from the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network:
Monique Fimbes: Arizona-Washington slideshow