Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Pearl River Community College forward Darrlyn Willis

Pearl River (MS) Community College sophomore forward Darrlyn Willis is one of the hottest commodities in junior college basketball. He has numerous colleges recruiting him. He has his five official visits set. Up next on the visit list is Mississippi State this weekend.

  • Name: Darrlyn Willis
  • Classification: Sophomore
  • Junior College: Pearl River Community College
  • High School: Madison Memorial (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • Position: Forward
  • HT-WT: 6-foot-9, 220
  • Colleges of Interest: Arizona State, Louisiana Tech, Marquette, Memphis, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, UT-Martin, Wichita State

"I am visiting Mississippi State this weekend," said Willis. "I've already visited Wichita State. After Mississippi State I have Marquette, then Arizona State, then Oklahoma State. I will make my decision after that."

He explained when Mississippi State got involved in his recruitment.

"Mississippi State got involved when all the schools started coming in," said Willis. "(Mississippi State assistant) Coach (George) Brooks is recruiting me. He said he really likes my game. Then, the head coach (Ben Howland) came in to see me practice and he liked my game a lot. They are recruiting me pretty hard now."

Prior to them recruiting him, he knew very little about the school.

"To be honest to you I am new to down here so I had never heard about Mississippi State," said Willis. "I have watched them on tv. But I am new to everything down here because I am a up north guy."

He does know about head man Ben Howland. And he is impressed.

"Coach Howland has a pretty long resume," said Willis. "Coach Brooks told me about all the achievements that he has, all the players that he has sent to the NBA."

He pointed out why he decided to add Mississippi State to his official visit list.

"I decided to visit them because they have done a pretty good job of recruiting me," said Willis. "But they really got me when they said they are losing five starters next year. I can come in and be an instant impact guy. I have two years left. I'm trying to make it just like the guys who are coming out of high school."

Like with all the schools that he is visiting, he has several things that he will look at while on his official visit.

"I am looking to see if I am going to get along with the players, see if I like it on the campus, see how the coach coaches, if it is a good environment," noted Willis. "I want to be around good people. I want to be around people that are going to help me excel."

Although he still has four visits to take, one school has really impressed Willis.

"I am leaning to Wichita State," he said. "I like them a lot. (Head Coach) Greg Marshall is a really cool coach. I like him a lot. I like the entire coaching staff a lot. I like all of the players that are coming back next year. I like the strength coach a lot as well. And I can go in there and be an instant impact as well."

He explained why he hasn't committed to them despite liking them a great deal.

"I didn't commit to them because I wanted to give everybody a fair chance," said Willis. "I don't want to go to a school and commit right away. That defeats the purpose. I want to see who wants me really badly. I don't want to be a backup man for them. I want to be at the top of the billboard with them. I want to know that they really need me. I don't want it to be like we didn't get this guy so let's go get Darral."

Last season Willis was a first-team All-MACJC selection and an All-Region 23 selection after averaging 13.8 points per game, hitting 62.6 percent from the field and 75.5 percent at the foul line. He also pulled down a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game. He helped lead his team to a 25-5 overall record and a MACJC state championship.

Check out the video below of Willis' highlights from his senior season of high school ball.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network.

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