Vaught: 1-on-1 with Derek Willis, Part 1
The recruiting interest continues to grow, but Bullitt East junior Derek Willis won't be in a hurry to make a second verbal commitment and he definitely wants to know more both Kentucky and Louisville. The 6-9 Willis, who averaged 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as a sophomore and helped his team reach the state tournament semifinals, recently de-committed from Purdue after earlier giving a verbal commitment to coach Matt Painter. Since then he's taken unofficial visits to both Kentucky and Louisville. Bullitt East coach Troy Barr says his star is "wide open" in recruiting now. "Other than Purdue, nobody has even offered him (a scholarship) yet. The interest is very high as far as phone calls, but there are no other offers," said Barr. "He is a Kentucky kid, so it is automatic that he would have interest in Louisville and Kentucky. Any Kentucky kid would have. He's a very humble, laid-back kid. He's not caught up in who he is or how good he is. He just wants to find the best fit for him and make the choice based on how well his game and the system will mesh together." Barr said Willis' de-commitment from Purdue was overblown by some. "He is a 16-year-old kid and he is curious. When he committed, he did not understand he could not take official visits down the road," Barr said. "He has a great summer and a lot of schools are talking like they are interested in him. Contacts are being made just to let him know schools are interested. It has peaked his curiosity. He really wanted to see what other options are out there compared to Purdue. "The question now is did Purdue eliminate him and I don't think either one of us know the answer to that. He wants Purdue to still be an option, but he also wants to see who else is interested." Delbert Willis, the player's father, said his son, who just turned 16 in late June, felt some pressure to commit when he was at Purdue because Painter told him the school had only one scholarship left for the 2013 class and the first of three players with a scholarship offer to commit would get it. "We had said our goodbyes, but before I?could start the car engine he said he wanted to commit. I said, ‘Don't you want to drive home.' He said, ‘No, I want to commit.' My wife got excited, so we called the coach and they came back down. Coach Painter tried to explain what committing was all about, but I don't think Derek fully understood the whole process," Delbert Willis said.
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