Kentucky basketball signee Derek Willis will miss games in Lexington and Marshall County later this week after being ejected from Monday’s season opener against Lafayette.
Willis, the only in-state player among UK’s five signees, was kicked out of Monday’s game for arguing with officials. He had 14 points and six rebounds before his dismissal midway through the third quarter.
The Bullitt East forward told the Herald-Leader after the game that he was tired of being banged around by Lafayette, and that’s why he was complaining to the officials.
“It’s frustrating,” Willis said. “I’m getting tired of it. It’s been going on for two years, and I guess it’s not going to change. I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
After Willis was roughed up by Louisville Trinity in last season’s Sweet Sixteen, KHSAA officials decided to put an emphasis on restricting such physical play. That initiative was the subject of a Herald-Leader story earlier this week.
Bullitt East Coach Troy Barr called Willis “immature” for the way he handled Monday’s situation, but he also voiced displeasure with the way the game was called.
“Obviously, nothing’s going to be changing (with the officiating), so we’ll have to move on and deal with it,” Barr told the Herald-Leader.
KHSAA Bylaw 11-5 states: There shall be a minimum two additional games suspension for any participant ejected from a contest.
As a result, Willis will miss Thursday’s game against Henry Clay at Tates Creek High School. He will also be forced to sit against Hopkinsville on Saturday at the Marshall County Hoop Fest.
The Marshall County Hoop Fest includes several other UK recruits, including signees Andrew and Aaron Harrison and major targets Andrew Wiggins and Cliff Alexander.
UK fans will still have an opportunity to see Willis play in Lexington later this season. Lexington Catholic hosts Bullitt East on Jan. 5 in a matchup of two of the state’s best teams.