Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller expects sophomore forward Derrick Williams to make a decision about his future later rather than sooner.
“Derrick is moving through it like I anticipated him doing,” Miller said at a news conference Thursday to wrap up the season.
By that, Miller meant that Williams is being methodical, gathering information, relying on a small circle of people that includes his mother and sister.
“I would anticipate that the decision would be more toward the deadline of April 24 than two days from now,” Miller said.
“With Derrick … it’s about giving him the space and time. Thank god he’s not a guy who can’t wait to leave Tucson. He loves college. He loves the fans. He really enjoys playing as a part of our program.”
Williams is widely considered a top five pick should he declare for the draft, although Miller scoffed at the art of draft projections when those trying to foretell the future don’t even know who is going to be in the draft yet.
Muddying the waters — in a good way for Arizona — is the potential of a NBA lockout.
“This year is unique because of the lockout,” Miller said. “There is not one person who can predict anything other than there is a really, really great chance that there will be one.
“It can last anywhere from one month or two in the best-case scenario to the entire season. You can talk in a day’s time to five different people who have a lot of experience on different ends of the NBA, and you’ll get five different answers. The one common theme is that they anticipate some form of a lockout.
“That doesn’t mean that it’s not right to go to the NBA, but you certainly have to take that into consideration. If you look at some of the players who have decided not to turn pro, to me that (the potential lockout) is a deciding factor in the equation for them.”
Williams averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds this season, leading Arizona to the West region final. He earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.
On Friday night, Williams will be attending the Wooden Award ceremony at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, which puts him among the five finalists for the award, which goes to the national player of the year.
“One of the points I hope we get to is if a player leaves Arizona to go the NBA that it was a decision that was well thought out, and that he listened to the right people and that he made the best decision for his future,” Miller said.
“And if that means that he leaves, then that’s great. What you don’t want is anybody to leave for the wrong reasons — and that is they don’t like it here or they’re in a rush to be part of the NBA.
“I think our goal is to make sure you don’t just jump into the NBA pool, so to speak, but you can swim in the deep end, that you’re ready to understand what life is going to be like.”
At this point, only Williams can answer that question if he’s really ready, if he really understands. He has until April 24 to enter the draft; he can withdraw until May 8 if he doesn’t hire an agent.
Meanwhile, the rest of us will just have to wait.