Ten days ago, Derek Willis was getting asked by reporters how he plans on getting back on the court after admitting to losing his defensive confidence. His playing time average had dropped below 13 minutes per game, and head coach John Calipari was looking for a term that was lower than “so bad” to describe Willis’ playing habits.
All looked bleak for the third-year player from Mt. Washington, Ky. It appeared Willis was going to get buried on Kentucky’s bench once again. But a lot can change in 10 days, and it all started to in the game against Auburn.
“I was so happy for him,” Calipari said of Willis. “Rebounded with two hands. If you ask me, he moved by all the other bigs. That’s my opinion.”
That vote of confidence from Coach Cal came after Willis recorded the first double-double of his collegiate career against the Tigers, scoring 12 points and picking up 12 rebounds in a career-high 31 minutes of playing time.