It’s NBA Draft week. On Thursday, forward Derrick Williams could be the first Arizona Wildcat to be chosen No. 1 overall, although indications are that the Cleveland Cavaliers will opt for Duke point guard Kyrie Irving instead.
If that happens, it seems likely the Minnesota Timberwolves will take Williams at No. 2. That will match where ex-Cat Mike Bibby was selected in the 1998 draft.
Arizona coach Sean Miller is expected to travel with Williams to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., for the draft, which begins at 4 p.m. Tucson time on ESPN. Williams is one of 15 prospects who have been invited to attend the draft.
To get you ready, here is a sampling of the latest on Williams:
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From Pac-12 Insider column of the Arizona Republic’s Doug Haller comes this quote on Williams from ESPN analyst Jay Bilas:
“The way I look at it, he’s going to be able to score in the NBA. I don’t think there’s any question about that.
“I just question whether he’s going to be able to guard effectively in the league. I would call him an inattentive defender. He saved some games with some spectacular blocks, but he was not a tentative weakside defender. Not a particularly good on-ball defender. … He’s got the tools to be a good defender, (but) he did not defend while he was at Arizona.”
Read more of the Pac-12 Insider at azcentral.com.
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After working out with the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, Williams did an interview for the team’s official site. You can read the transcript here.
Williams was asked to anticipate his reaction to hearing his name called Thursday night:
“I couldn’t even tell you right now. It’s going to be a great feeling though. To see my mom, my sister, and my niece, my agent, my coaches there, everybody who was there to this point to support me through the whole process, it’s going to be great. You might see some tears but you never know it’s a great time and I’m really looking forward to it.”
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The Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe wrote a feature on Williams on Sunday: “NBA draft: Williams’ world spins fast”
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The Los Angeles Times Eric Sondheimer posted a video story from 2009 on then-La Mirada High School basketball coach Larry Kaupang, which gives some insight into Williams prep days. Williams is featured and interviewed in the video, which you can find on the L.A. Times website.
Said Kaupang: “Coaching Derrick Williams is about as much fun as I’ve had as a coach. He responds well to criticism. … Every game he does something where you just look back and you say, ‘Wow, how did he do that?’”
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DraftExpress.com predicts, as most do, that Williams will be taken with the second pick in the draft. Draft Express offers an in-depth statistical breakdown of Williams’ game and found him to be the most efficient forward of NBA prospects.
Wrote DraftExpress.com: “Williams was indeed one of the most dangerous shot-creators in the college game amongst big men (he played almost all his minutes at Center at Arizona), scoring an outstanding 1.3 points per possession (#1) in isolation situations and getting fouled on nearly a third of his possessions (#1).”
More on Williams here from DraftExpress.com.