The immediate aftermath of a season-ending loss is never a great time to ask a player about his future. But you have to ask. You never know the answer.
But Arizona Wildcats sophomore Derrick Williams wasn’t biting on any such questions after Arizona lost 65-63 to UConn in the West regional final on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif.
“I’m not answering any questions about that,” he said, sitting in front of his locker at the Honda Center.
“I don’t really care about the NBA right now. As of right now, I’m in school. So it doesn’t matter about the NBA. I haven’t even thought about it. I’m still thinking about the game.”
Williams isn’t apt to make a rash decision. He has until April 24 to declare for the NBA Draft. If he doesn’t hire an agent, he has until May 8 to withdraw from the draft and return to school.
Williams isn’t an on-the-fence prospect. He is and will be projected to be drafted high. Let’s say top five, for sure. Draftexpress.com puts Williams at No. 2 right now.
The twist this season for all underclassmen is the potential of an NBA lockout.
(UCLA coach Ben Howland told the L.A. Times last week that the potential of an extended lockout — possibly lasting into the new year — would influence his advice to his underclassmen.)
Miller, on the Jim Rome radio show Monday morning, said the lockout would be an “X-factor.”
After the loss to UConn, Miller said he will be in information-gathering mode for Williams, getting the best intelligence from NBA personnel men.
For coaches and players, all the decisions during the season were about doing what was right for the team. Now, it’s about Williams figuring out what is best for Williams, and for Miller to support him in every way possible.
“My agenda is Derrick Williams,” Miller said.
“I have no hidden agenda. If he has played himself into great position, and that’s what he wants to do, we’ll support him. But that’s over the next couple of weeks that we will have to help guide him.”
Miller consistently has praised Derrick’s mother and family for keeping him grounded. He said there is a high degree of trust between the family and the coaches — that everyone is working in Williams’ best interests.
“If his best interest is to leave, then we know that he did his job, we did ours, and we will be really, really proud of him,” Miller said.
He added, with a bit of a smile, “And if for whatever reason, that doesn’t add up and he comes back, we’re going to have a really good team.”