UK commit Derek Willis looks to advance team to Sweet 16

By Derek Willis | @derek_willis33

Derek Willis is the lone UK commitment in the class of 2013. The 6-foot-9 forward from Mt. Washington, Ky., is an excellent talent on the court and he has high hopes for this upcoming high school season. He is certainly not lacking any confidence as a player, despite his recent drop in various rankings.

Off the court however, Derek is just a normal Kentucky kid. Here is the first edition of his diary, where he will take some time to let you into the life of Derek Willis:

Photo courtesy of Derek Willis

This past summer had its ups and downs for the most part, but I was fortunate enough to visit Germany and other places around the U.S. Germany was a great experience and I played against a lot of competition from  around the world. If you haven’t visited there then you should check it out sometime in your life. When I came back to the states, I had a couple of days to get ready for another trip to Las Vegas with my AAU team, the Louisville Magic. We had a nice group of players for the 17U but it was no doubt that 16U shined in the program. Unfortunately, the 17U was disbanded shortly after the state AAU tournament. During that summer, I fell off on my rankings. People constantly ask me why certain people are ranked the way they are and my answer is I don’t know. I never paid much attention to rankings even when I was ranked, so it’s not that I didn’t care — its more that I needed to improve. I can’t control what a guy behind a computer does. But for the players that have moved up or have gained more recognition, I’m glad. It is very flattering, but rankings are for fans and that’s the way it should be. But, as far as I’m concerned, I got a scholarship to the most elite basketball program in the nation and I plan on playing with another great recruiting class. My high school basketball team is the best team in the state of Kentucky and we are expected to go back to state. We will be preseason No. 1 and have a target on our back. We know how hard it is going to be to get back to state so we have set our goals higher this summer and the improvements we are making are only going to help us get back to Rupp. Off the court, I am very humble and laid back.  Not a lot gets to my head and I try to stay grounded for the most part. I try to talk about my other teammates successes or something else. But all in all I’m glad I’m a future Cat and I’m excited for this season.

I am looking forward to seeing Derek in a blue and white uniform. I believe he will fit in with Calipari’s system and will become a fan favorite. Keep up the good work Derek. Will see you next year on the court.