Vaught: 1-on-1 with Derek Willis, Part 2
Willis went to Louisville two days later. Ironically, his father couldn't go so he had a friend who happens to be a "die-hard" UK fan go with Derek. Delbert Willis and his wife went to Louisville a few days later. "Coach Pitino took us around campus and everything. It was the first time I had ever cruised around the Louisville campus or first time to be in the practice facility. It was also a real enjoyable visit," Delbert Willis said. "I was impressed by both programs. Derek is working out with a strength coach now who is a Louisville alumnus but a Wildcat fan. That's how crazy things can be." Willis, who is considered a top-25 prospect by some recruiting analysts, had what Barr called a "phenomenal summer" for Bullitt East as well as for his AAU team. "Last year as a sophomore everybody saw a ton of potential in him with our team," Barr said. "I?have seen stuff from Kentucky fans who say they could care less about him, but any Kentucky fan that comes out to see him will want him bad. "He's a great kid. He just turned 16 this summer. From a basketball perspective, the sky is the limit. Sometimes last year people would look at his skill set and forget he was just 15 and had the mind of a 15 year old. Purdue was his first offer and he was enamored with coach Painter as he should have been and made a quick decision. But Rodney Purvis de-committed to Louisville because an assistant coach left. It's just like breaking up with your girlfriend. It happens when kids are this young and facing such big decisions. "Right now he's just a normal 16 year old playing basketball. Where the Kentucky-Louisville thing could come into play is when fans fill our stands. We are only 20 minutes from Louisville, so we get U of L fans here. And Lord knows there are a ton of UK?fans around this area. We'll see how he handles all the blue and red then." Delbert Willis knows the UK-Louisville factions will be obvious as long as his son is considering both schools. "That will probably go on to signing day next year. Even if he committed to one school, those fans left out would be unhappy. He does not seem to be bothered with it too much," Willis' father said. "He tries to give people time and talk to them. His mom and I did not go through anything like this as players. But that was a different time." Barr says his star junior needs to add a "little bit of weight" but that he's not a post player despite his size and 7-1 wing span. "You might think he should play down low, but he is a guard with the way he can shoot, handle and pass. He is the tallest kid on our team and he is going to play guard and play on the perimeter in college," Barr said. "His strength is playing behind the 3-point line. He does not need to put on a ton of weight to do that. He can do just about everything. He can shoot the 3. He can post up smaller players. He can post 6-9 guys or score outside on them. "Derek is the best passer, best rebounder, best shot blocker on our team. I anticipate multiple triple-doubles (this season). I?could see a quadruple double. He got close as a sophomore a couple of times to a quadruple double. It's just a matter of time. He will have the ball and we have kids around him that can score." Barr has his team in the King of Bluegrass again and the Chargers will also take a trip to Florida to play. He'll also have Trinity and another top team or two playing in a special event at Bullitt East on Jan. 29. There will also be a rematch with Rowan County, the team that eliminated Bullitt East in the 2011 state tourney, and Oklahoma State commit Adam Wing in the Joe B.?Hall Classic at Montgomery County. Those type games will showcase Willis and a junior class that Barr feels is as good or better than any junior class in Kentucky. Willis' father says he just wants his son to have an enjoyable junior season. "I don't know if any recruiting is truly enjoyable for anybody. Some kids let it get to their ego.?It can be stressful," Delbert Willis said. "We try to be respectful. We know everybody has a job to do, but we have a life, too. He is 16 and trying to get through high school. Of course, this is a major distraction, but he doesn't think of himself as anything special. "From last year at this time to the end of the year when the AAU circuit ended, he has really come along with his game. I?look for him to have a nice year. He is such an unselfish kid, the coaches sometimes try to get him to shoot more. But that's not him. He just wants to win and try to enjoy everything."
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