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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / December 18.
  • Derek Willis to Kentucky

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    Derek Willis, a 6-9 forward from Mt. Washington, Ky., on Friday became Kentucky’s first commit in the Class of 2013.

    Willis, rated as the No. 23-overall prospect in his class by Rivals.com, picked Kentucky over Louisville, Indiana and Purdue.

    “I thought it was great [when they offered],” Willis told reporters in Kentucky. “It’s a top college in the nation. When you have  a chance to go there, it’s great.”

    “Derek looked me in the eye like a man and said, ‘That’s where I want to go because it’s the best place for me to reach my goals,’” his father, Del Willis, a lifelong Louisville fan, told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Friday. “I told him, ‘If that’s what you want to do, we’re behind you 100 percent.’

    “Derek has handled everything really well so far. For a 16-year-old kid, he’s shown a lot of maturity.”

    Kentucky has nabbed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation three years running, and Willis gives them a head start on a potential fifth.

    John Calipari’s 2012 class is already ranked No. 2 and the Wildcats are involved with several late signees, including Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, Tony Parker, Devonta Pollard and Amile Jefferson.

    “What sticks out about Willis is his versatility and skill set,” Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels told The Courier-Journal. “At 6-foot-9, he’s mobile, a pretty good athlete and has very good length. Offensively he shoots the ball well from long range and has great touch around the basket.

    “It’s always important to keep a guy of this caliber home and Kentucky made him a priority, especially over the course of the past few months. Any time you can get a top-35 prospect from your area it’s certainly a bonus.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • KABOOM!!!

    • Sad to see cal would use a kid, just to take a cheap shot at Pitino. Karma will get him in the end and this recruit puzzles even the wildcat fan base….see a lot of displeasure over even offering him a scholly. But hey, if Randle chooses to go elsewhere because of this, im all for it. LOL Probably end up like vargas or wiltjer and not very productive.

      ”it prevents us from getting a player like Randle , if that happened it would be a costly decision,” – uk fan

      Dudd!!!

    • makes sense ku fans would hope this effects randle’s decision considering they really aren’t a player for him.

      speaking of using a kid…..isnt that what self does each year to land kids? package deals…using a recruits friend or teammate to help land the main guy?

    • Doesn’t make anysense to half of brokeback lil blue nation. LOL This suprised a lot, or half of them. Now they are clearly worried this takes Randle out of the equation, which it clearly does.

    • Wh

    • Why would randle worry about this kid?
      Randle is a program changer and he knows if he goes to UK this Willis will ride the pine. It is Willis who will be worried bc he will get recruited over by calipari and wouldn’t b surprised of he decommits before his time comes.

    • Im not saying Willis is cheap, he is only 16 and has plenty of time to develop. uk doesn’t need Randle anymore, we all know cal recruits by promising playing time. He doesn’t make players earn it, its his main recruiting tool he uses to his advantage. And how about them arizona OTHER wildcats?? Really impressive and showing signs of becoming a powerhouse. LOL

    • wow, Phog is really on a roll here..

    • Look! An Arizona fan! Bear down, the west is rising! Ha