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Derrick Williams couldn’t pass up opportunity to be a top five pick

Derrick Williams will be jamming in the NBA next season. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats sophomore forward Derrick Williams didn’t make a quick decision about his basketball future, mulling it over for a few weeks after the season.

But, really, it wasn’t complicated.

All the other stuff — the potential of an NBA lockout, the tantalizing thought of Arizona being a national championship contender next season if he stayed, the potential of injury — was just background noise.

“I’m supposed to be a top five pick,” Williams said Wednesday at a press conference, speaking publicly about his decision for the first time. “You can’t really turn that down.”

No, you can’t.

And Williams doesn’t have just internet speculation about his draft status; he has the real inside scoop from NBA men. Which teams end up at the top of the draft lottery could affect exactly where he goes, but Williams doesn’t expect a big slide, no matter the final order of teams.

“If I drop out of the top five … I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Williams said. “I don’t think anybody else believes that’s going to happen.”

Williams said he still is in the process of hiring an agent.

Since he announced his decision, he said response from Arizona fans has been positive.

“Obviously, they wished I stayed, but everybody is happy for me,” Williams said.

“Nothing but, ‘Thank you for everything, Derrick, and for putting us back in the national spotlight. UA fans have been great since I’ve been here. …

“If you have a chance to make money doing something you love … I think they all understand.”

Williams is still in school this semester and said he vowed to his mother to get his degree.

“I promised her that I was going to get it down if I choose to go this route (to the NBA),” Williams said. “So I have work to do on the court and in the classroom.”

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