First-year Arizona coach Sean Miller met the Pac-10 media today in Los Angeles, spending part of his time in front of the crowd raving about freshman power forward Derrick Williams.
“I’m very impressed with Derrick,” Miller said.
“He’s been one of the highlights of our preseason. One of the things that is striking about Derrick for such a young person and player is his body. Physically, he is much bigger than you think he is. Right now, he’s a legitimate 6-foot-8 and probably close to 230 pounds.
“He’s not that rail-thin freshman who takes a year or two to develop physically. That is going to really help him establish some early success as a player. Very hard worker. Easy to coach. Great kid. As bright of a future as anybody we have in our program.”
In a TucsonCitizen.poll from a couple of weeks ago, 26 percent of the 354 respondents picked Williams as the UA freshman they were most eager to see. It’s telling how deep that five-man class is, as center Kyryl Natyazhko picked up 23 percent, wing Solomon Hill got 22 percent, guard MoMo Jones got 19 percent and wing Kevin Parrom earned seven percent.
Williams has also been working at center in early practices, adding versatility to a frontcourt that includes Natyazhko and junior Alex Jacobson at center, and Jamelle Horne at power forward.
“He’s not one-dimensional,” Miller said of Williams.
“For a guy his size, he can also step away from the basket. He can shoot the basketball. He can really put it on the floor.
“As he learns the college game and learns the system and style we have as a program, I believe more than any single player you will watch this year, you’ll see his December being much different than his November, and his January being a far cry from November. I really look at him as being able to develop in a big, big way this year as a freshman.”
UA sophomore guards Brendon Lavender and Kyle Fogg met with the local media Wednesday, and also said Williams has been one of the bright spots of practice so far.
Lavender: “He’s really athletic. Really, really athletic. A raw talent.”
Fogg: “He’s really versatile for the 5 (center position). He can easily bring it out to the 3 or go around a guy who is bigger than him. That’s going to help us out. When he has huge kids on him, he can blow by them.”
From wildaboutazcats.com: Sean Miller audio from Pac-10 Media Day
Related link: Cats picked fourth at Pac-10 Media Day; TC.com agrees
Related link: Cal No. 12, Washington No. 13 in ESPN/USA Today poll released this morning. UA received no votes. How in the world did USC receive 22 points??? The coaches poll does not release individual ballots, and, thus, has no accountability.
Related link: Steve Rivera Ventures: Cats go through “tough” practices; Miller joins in at times