Roles almost reversed for Williams

Derrick Williams faces Memphis on Friday, but roles could have been reversed.

When Derrick Williams opened up his recruitment, it came down to Arizona and Memphis.

Williams chose Arizona and the rest is history, as he is now considered to be one of the best players in the country.

Williams almost wound up playing for Josh Pastner at Memphis and still has plenty of respect for him.

"He is a great coach, and Coach Miller is a great coach here," Williams said. "Either way, I knew it would have been great. He was very aggressive, but that's just his personality, his style. If he wants a player, he is going to do everything he can, legally, to get them. He is just a great guy, all around."

At the time of the decision, Williams felt that Memphis and Pastner had plenty of positives.

"I liked the arena they played in, where the Grizzlies play," he said. "It's a quality arena, and not many people can say that they in an NBA arena. That was one of the big things right there, and they get more fans than the Grizzlies get. I think it's pretty incredible there.

"Their fan base is great, just like ours. They're a big basketball school. I had a good relationship with the players when I went there too, not just because of the recruiting trip. It just comes down to choosing one school over another, and if you have a good relationship with the team, and if they accept you, the coaching staff as well."

Some people may not know just how close Williams was to going to Memphis and he makes no secret of the fact that he could easily be a Tiger right now.

"I was very close to deciding when I went out there," he said. "I was going to commit on my visit, actually, but I just didn't. I knew I had one more visit left. Coach Miller was recruiting me really hard, and I wanted to respect that and take that visit.

"It's closer to home, and while distance doesn't have to do with my decision, this is one of the best basketball schools on the west coast, so I wanted to give it a shot."

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