Status: UK signee
PF | 6-9 | 205
High school: Bullitt East
Hometown: Mt. Washington, Ky.
Twitter: derek_willis33


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Willis was the first player to commit to Kentucky from the class of 2013, and the first highly touted in-state player to be successfully recruited by John Calipari. The Bullitt East standout originally committed to Purdue in April 2011 before changing his mind a few months later and opening up his recruitment.
A little lanky for his 6-9 frame, Willis is best on the perimeter, where he shoots a solid percentage and can drive past defenders. His ball-handling ability should make for some mismatches on the wing in Calipari’s dribble-drive offense.
“He puts the ball on the floor extremely well for his size, he’s unselfish and he gets the ball to the open player,” recruiting analyst Rick Bolus told the Herald-Leader. “He’ll be an ideal wing-forward in college.”
Willis was rated as one of the 30 best players in the class at one point, but he has since taken a stumble and has fallen out of many services’ rankings.
His high school coach, Troy Barr, said Willis had played out of position for the past year, and that’s what precipitated his drop.
“He had to play in the post because we didn’t have anybody else with any size,” Barr told the Herald-Leader. “I think a lot of people looked at it like that’s where he’s going to play in college, and that’s not the case. He’s going to be out on the perimeter, because that’s where he’s best.”

Tracking Willis

Date Opponent W/L Stats
Nov. 26 Lafayette W 14 pts, 6 rebs
Nov. 29 Henry Clay* W Suspended
Dec. 1 Hopkinsville* W Suspended
Dec. 4 Butler W 16 pts
Dec. 7 Spencer Co. W 8 pts
Dec. 10 @Oldham Co. W 19 pts, 8 rebs
Dec. 15 Madison Central W 22 pts
Dec. 20 Bowling Green* W 13 pts, 5 blks
Dec. 21 PRP* W 14 pts, 8 rebs
Dec. 22 CPA (Tenn.)* L 13 pts, 3 blks
Dec. 23 Madison Central* L 14 pts, 3 blks
Dec. 27 Coppell (Texas)* W 19 pts, 4 asts
Dec. 28 Martin (Texas)* L 15 pts, 6 rebs
Dec. 29 Westfield (Texas)* W 8 pts
Dec. 29 North Crowley (Texas)* W 30 pts, 9 rebs
Jan. 5 @Lex. Catholic W 19 pts, 9 rebs
Jan. 7 @Bullitt Central W 15 pts
Jan. 14 @South Oldham W No Stats
Jan. 17 Nixa (Mo.)* L 17 pts, 8 rebs
Jan. 18 Hall (Ark.)* W 19 p, 9 r, 6 b
Jan. 19 Hillcrest (Mo.)* W 27 pts, 8 rebs
Jan. 22 @Fern Creek W 23 pts
Jan. 26 Pulaski County* W 24 pts, 12 rebs
Jan. 29 Cov. Holy Cross W No Stats
Feb. 5 Fairdale W 27 pts, 11 rebs
Feb. 7 @Jeffersontown W 24 pts
Feb. 8 @North Bullitt W No Stats
Feb. 9 Iroquois W 11 pts
Feb. 12 Bullitt Central W 18 pts, 10 rebs
Feb. 14 @Elizabethtown W 16 pts, 8 rebs
Feb. 20 Whitefield W 24 pts
Feb. 22 Fern Creek W 25 pts
Feb. 26 Southern
Feb. 28 PRP or Doss
*-Neutral site games


“He has a lot of raw ability and his skill level is high for his size. If he can add some weight and learn to play through contact, he can be a contributor for UK.”

– analyst Evan Daniels