Still want more on Derrick Williams? Here is a clip from part of his interview Wednesday as some of the top prospects were made available in New York City.
Archive for June, 2011
Stealing this list from the Arizona Republic’s Doug Haller, eight players from the Pac-10 (going back to when the league was the Pac-8), have been selected within the top two picks of the NBA Draft.
Lew Alcindor (UCLA, 1969), Sidney Wicks (UCLA, 1971), Bill Walton (UCLA, 1974), David Meyers (UCLA, 1975), Dave Greenwood (UCLA, 1979), Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1990), Jason Kidd (California, 1994) and Mike Bibby (Arizona, 1998).
Arizona’s Derrick Williams is hoping to join that very fine list on Thursday.
Beyond Williams, it could be a decent draft for the Pac-10, with Washington State guard Klay Thompson and USC’s Nikola Vucevic potentially going in the top half of the first round.
A pair of UCLA players, wing Tyler Honeycutt and guard Malcolm Lee, are two draft wild-cards — talented, but not polished by any means. Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas, only 5-foot-10, figures to be second-round material.
Can Derrick Williams be a small forward in the NBA? Can he shoot the NBA 3-pointer? Can he defend?
Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller says he has little doubt that Williams can, over time, do whatever he wants to on the basketball court. It’s when you add that skill to his personality and character that you really have something.
“My advice to him has always been, ‘Don’t change who you are,’” Miller said in an interview with TucsonCitizen.com on Wednesday.
“That’s his greatest gift. He’s a great teammate. People are going to love the fact that he’s part of their organization. That humble approach has worked for him, and Derrick is always going to follow that script.”
Miller’s advice to Williams applies now and always — because everything else around the 20-year-old is about to change. Money. Fame. Pressure. Business. Hangers-on who don’t have his best interests at heart.
The NBA posted this video to YouTube on Tuesday, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse as Arizona Wildcats forward Derrick Williams watched the draft lottery and went through workouts to get ready for Thursday’s draft.
If you’d prefer to read than watch (or if you wanted to do both), check out this profile of Williams from the Los Angeles Times’ Baxter Holmes.
In the feature he quotes an NBA scout as saying that Williams “is going to cause havoc on the offensive end.”
Baxter writes that Williams’ “defense and rebounding are potential weak spots. On average, Williams grabbed one rebound every 3.6 minutes last season. For his size, he should be closer to grabbing one every three minutes, the scout says.”
One more tidbit from that story: Ex-Cat Luke Walton recently offered this piece of advice via text message to the soon-to-be-millionaire: “Don’t spend your money.”
The Arizona Wildcats, coming off their worst showing ever in the Directors’ Cup, will be a top 20 program for the first time since 2006.
The Director’s Cup is an all-sport ranking that has been in existence since the 1993-94 school year.
Arizona used to live in the top 10, but it had become a fringe top 25 athletic department in recent seasons.
For this school year, UA is 17th (standings here), and should be 16th when the final sport of the school year — baseball — is completed. The Wildcats will score 25 points for advancing to the postseason, where they lost in the final game of a regional at Texas A&M.
The Wildcats received a boost from men’s basketball — 73 points out of 100 for reaching a regional final after missing the NCAA tournament in the previous season.
When Arizona’s Derrick Williams is selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft — with likely the No. 1 or No. 2 pick — it will start a new era for the Wildcats: He’ll be the first of Sean Miller’s recruits to move on to the next level.
But the meter is still running on Lute Olson’s former players … and that meter has passed three-quarters of a billion dollars in NBA salaries for the more than 30 ex-Cats who have (in many cases) gone from Lute to luxury.
Not counting money from endorsements, appearance fees, autograph shows, camps or any of that other stuff — strictly NBA salary — the grand total is approaching $770 million.
And that doesn’t include the very good living that several former Wildcats have made playing in leagues overseas.
There is still plenty of money on the books, too. Gilbert Arenas, now with the Orlando Magic, is still owed $62 million over the next three seasons, for example. The San Antonio Spurs are on the hook to Richard Jefferson for about $30 million over the next three years.
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.
Arizona Wildcats football coach Mike Stoops has talked in the offseason about being more “explosive” in the running game.
Well, let’s see just how the Cats have done in that area.
If we define explosive running plays as those of 20 yards or more, then we can do this research with a flurry of clicks on cfbstats.com, which has the breakdown of the past five seasons of statistics.
Arizona, in the past three years, has been in the middle of the Pac-10 in runs of 20-plus yards, ranking fifth with 47 such gains.
The UA is tied for seventh in the past five seasons, with 63 runs of at least 20 yards.
So, in terms of explosion, the Cat’s running game has been only occasionally ignitable.
Keeping in mind that not all offense schemes are built the same (hello, Oregon’s read-option offense), here are the Pac-10 leaders in big running plays over the past five seasons:
In collaboration with our Gannett partner, The Arizona Republic, we will be providing a weekly series throughout the summer, previewing the Arizona Wildcats football team.
The Republic sent a photographer to Tucson three times in the spring to capture the pictures needed for its slick presentation of the preview, which you can find here at azcentral.com. You can also read about those other guys all summer in the ASU preview.
At TucsonCitizen.com, we can’t offer the cool look of the preview that you’ll find on azcentral.com, but we’ll give you the text and some of the photography.
Here is the fourth part: The running backs. Look for updates every Friday.