Derek Willis won’t miss games for summer arrest

UK basketball player Derek Willis was arrested early Saturday morning.

Kevin Erpenbeck

It appears Derek Willis will avoid any further punishment on the team for his public intoxication arrest this past summer.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari told reporters Thursday that while he has spoken to Willis about the incident, the 6-foot-9 sharpshooting forward will not be suspended for any games for his public intoxication charge.

Days before his 21st birthday, Willis was found passed out hanging outside of his car door in Boone County by police. Willis said he didn’t know where he was except “somewhere in northern Kentucky.” He plead guilty for public intoxication and was given a $25 fine.

Calipari wouldn’t get into specific details about what was said between the two, but made it seem like the issue was settled for now.

“You guys know I don’t throw people under the bus,” Calipari said to the media. “You guys know how I am. We deal with every situation in its own right. We gather information. Derek knows that he’s under a different eye now than he was, but I’m not going to tell you specifically what we did. I’m not going to write your stories and do all that stuff. But obviously he and I have talked a few different times.”

Willis will be a senior this year and is expected to contribute as a veteran leader on the court after seeing a surge of playing time last season. But his public incident has brought a reminder how much UK players are watched in scrutinized, Calipari added.

“That’s being here. That’s being at Kentucky,” Calipari said. “You can’t talk your way out of it, and that includes our staff.

“These kids know they’re under a microscope. But I tell them, the downside of being here is that side. The good thing about being here is you’re at Kentucky and everybody wants to be here and you’re here. You’re having the opportunity to do this and these things and you have to deal with the other side of it.”