Derrick Williams helped the Wildcats to a 30-8 record in 2010-11, when most experts predicted a rebuilding year for Arizona. He was ninth in the nation in field-goal percentage (.595), 30th in scoring (19.5 points per game) and led the team on a surprising NCAA Tournament run.
Williams' athleticism and leaping ability has led some scouts to dub him a quicker version of the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony.
In his first season with the Wildcats, Williams became the sixth Wildcat and first freshman to lead the team in scoring (15.7 points per game), rebounding (7.1 rebounds per game) and field-goal percentage (.574).
Williams separates himself from most college forwards with his high basketball IQ and the ability to dominate operating inside or on the perimeter. His improved jumper in 2010-11 made the already explosive interior scorer a bona fide lottery prospect. Even though he did not have enough attempts to qualify for the national title, he joined Jon Diebler of Ohio State (50.2 percent) as the only national ranked players to make more than 50 percent of his 3-point field goal tries last season (56.8 percent).
Williams' explosive initial burst, long stride and exceptional foot work to get to the basket at will makes him virtually unguardable for college power forwards. He also made 74.6 percent of his free throws as a sophomore.
The Los Angeles Daily News' Player of the Year and All-Area selection was also named the Suburban League's Player of the Year as a senior at La Mirada High School, but Williams was rated just the 72nd-best prep player and 25th-best power forward in the nation by Rivals.com. He originally committed to play at the University of Southern California, but asked for a release from his letter of intent when head coach Tim Floyd resigned amid allegations of NCAA rules violations.
Williams was recruited by Arizona first-year head coach Sean Miller. Williams went on to earn 2010 Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors, in addition to earning a spot on the Freshman All-American team.
Williams averaged 15.7 points per game in 2009-10, starting 30-of-31 games. He connected on 162-of-282 field goals (57.4 percent), but was hesitant with his perimeter game, making just four of the 16 shots he attempted from 3-point range. He averaged 7.1 rebounds per game, but did have some foul trouble that would again plague him as a sophomore, fouling out of four times.
Williams was a consensus All-American and unanimous All-Pac-10 Conference choice as a sophomore. Averaging 30 minutes per game, he started all 38 contests for the Wildcats in 2010-11, connecting on 226-of-380 field goals and scoring 741 points (19.5 points per game), more than twice the total of UA's second-leading scorer.
Williams also paced the team with 314 rebounds, 26 blocked shots and 37 steals on the way to leading the squad to the Pac-10 conference championship. He scored in double figures 37 times, posted 13 double-doubles and posted the two highest single-game rebounding totals in the Pac-10 for the 2010-11 season (19 at Washington State and 18 at California).
After the Wildcats fell to eventual national champion Connecticut in the Elite Eight, Williams announced that he was leaving for the NBA.
His .568 3-point field-goal percentage (42-of-74) this season ranked second in UA annals, while his 314 rebounds tied for seventh all-time. Williams intends to complete his coursework this semester.
Williams is one of 14 Wildcats to declare early for the NBA Draft since 1984: Brian Williams (1991), Mike Bibby (1998), Gilbert Arenas (2001), Jason Gardner (2001), Richard Jefferson (2001), Michael Wright (2001), Andre Iguodala (2004), Chris Rodgers (2005), Mustafa Shakur (2006), Marcus Williams (2007), Jerryd Bayless (2008), Chase Budinger (2008 and 2009) and Jordan Hill (2009). Of that list, only Gardner, Rodgers and Shakur returned to school and completed their eligibility.
Positives: Williams lacks the ideal height to get his shot off flat-footed vs. bigger forwards, but his elevation, footwork and high arc, along with a smooth, effortless stroke led to marked improvement as a perimeter shooter Physical "inside/outside" player who will crash the boards at both ends of the court, (105-of-314 rebounds came from the offensive glass last year) Has a large wingspan, good upper-body muscle tone and strength Possesses very good quickness and the range to consistently make shots Has the balance and foot speed to put the ball on the floor and get up the court to create his own shot or feed the ball out to an open teammate Has the large, soft hands to take a shot off the dribble and is also capable of catching and shooting the ball Gets the ball off in an instant Strong finishing with either hand in the post Has the range to force defenders to challenge every shot Has the bulk to play bigger than he is and contend with power forwards and the first step and body control to overwhelm small forwards, making him matchup challenge Is not hesitant to establish position without the ball in his hands When roving along the baseline, he shows very effective catch-and-shoot agility With his athleticism, range and ball handling skills, he can be dangerous shooting the ball when stepping out of the paint Hangs in the air long, thanks to his great balance and is very effective at creating separation Has very good scoring ability facing the basket Crashes the boards with excellent elevation, showing good jumping ability to get to the rebound or to alter shots in the paint Almost unstoppable going against power forwards because of his explosive quickness in the paint Very successful on isolation plays with the quick release and the threat of his outside jumper forces defenders to close gaps Has surprising strength to finish at the rim and can elevate over defenders to get off a clean shot from the perimeter Uses strength and size well when fighting for position on the block Very determined to attack the offensive glass, where he has the soft hands to execute the quick put-backs Has a quick drop step coming off the block, keeping his hands active while shuffling his feet well to take the opponent off the dribble.
Negatives: Solid offensive rebounder and is aggressive in establishing position, but he could be a liability if he's primarily a power forward at the next level; doesn't have the size to out-muscle NBA centers and power forwards on the defensive boards for the rebound Has to show a better anchor to box out his man Has good strength, but when bigger defenders collapse on him, he needs to be more alert to open teammates Has made steady strides with his mid-range game, but he can be too deliberate with his face-up game Gets a bit reckless trying to make a steal and will get caught out of position trying to stay in front of slashing small forwards Must do a better job playing in transition, as he sometimes takes too much time getting into position to defend on the other end of the floor Might be a better fit for the three-spot due to defensive deficiencies, but will need to improve his right-handed shooting from the perimeter to not be so predictable when shooting from there.
Compares To: CARMELO ANTHONY, New York Knicks -- Williams might lack the brute strength to bang heads with more physical power forwards, but when he keeps his opponent honest by dropping out of the paint to attack the rim from the perimeter, he showed that he can connect from long range. Just as he's a matchup nightmare for defensive players, a coaching staff might stretch to find a perfect assignment for Williams. His defensive skills are not sufficient to play power forward, and his lateral agility could be an issue against elite NBA small forwards.
The Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year was a three-time league Player of the Week choice, adding USBWA District IX Player of the Year accolades Received All-American first-team honors from The NBA Draft Report, Sports Illustrated and the John R. Wooden Award, adding second-team recognition from the Associated Press, USBWA, Sporting News, NABC and Foxsports.com Winner of the Fred Enke Most Outstanding Player Award, given to the team's most valuable player Started all 38 games for the Wildcats, making 226-of-380 field goals (ninth in the nation at 59.5 percent), connecting on 42-of-74 three-point attempts (56.8 percent would have qualified for the national title, if he met the minimum requirements - 2.5 attempts per game played) Successful on 74.6 percent of his free throws (247-of-331) Pulled down 314 rebounds (73rd in the nation with an average of 8.3 rebounds per game), including 105 from the offensive glass Charged with 106 personal fouls, leading to five disqualifications Had 43 assists, leading the team with 26 blocked shots and 37 steals, but turned the ball over 100 times Helped lead Arizona (30-8, 14-4 Pac-10) to the 2011 Pac-10 Conference regular-season championship, as the Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament West Regional final It marked the fourth time in school history that an Arizona squad has won 30 or more games.
Named to the Sporting News' Freshman All-American first-team All-Pac-10 Conference first-team choice and selected the league's Freshman of the Year Second-team NABC All-District XX choice Member of the Collegeinsider.com Freshman All-American team
Started 30-of-31 games for the Wildcats, as he ranked seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring (15.7 points per game, 486 points), finishing fourth in field goal percentage (.574/12th nationally on 162-of-282 attempts) Also made 68.1 percent of his free throws (158-of-232) Placed sixth in Pac-10 in rebounding (7.1 rebounds per game, 219 total), third in defensive rebounds (4.9 average, 151 total) and eighth in offensive rebounds (2.2 average, 68 total) Blocked 20 shots and had 19 steals, but fouled out of four contests and was charged with 60 turnovers Logged 875 minutes of action.
In two seasons at Arizona, Williams averaged 17.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game in 69 career appearances (68 starts) Connected on 58.6 percent of his field goal attempts (388-of-662) in that span, a figure that ranks fourth on the UA career field goal percentage list Finished his career with 1,227 career points, which ranks 27th on the UA career scoring list Scored more points in his first two seasons as a Wildcat than any other player in school history Tied for seventh on the Arizona career scoring average list (17.8 points per game), sixth on the career free throws list with 405 and seventh on the career free throw attempts list (563) No player in Arizona history averaged more free throw attempts per game than Williams' average of 8.2 per game Became just the seventh sophomore in school history to score over 1,000 points.
Attended La Mirada (Cal.) High School, playing for coach Larry Kaupang Ranked as the 72nd-best overall prospect in the country and the 25th-best power forward by Rivals.com, as he averaged 25.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per game and shot 40 percent from three-point range during his senior season Helped the Matadors to a 21-9 record and a berth in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs Named second-team "Best of the West" by the Long Beach Press-Telegram Earned Player-of-the-Year honors from the Los Angeles Daily News All-Area squad and was selected the 2009 Suburban League Player of the Year First-team All-State selection and chosen the CIF Class 2A Player of the Year In three games vs. high school teams with top-30 recruits, Williams scored 39, 41 and 33 (37.7 points per game) points Announced his arrival on the recruiting scene at the 2008 Pangos All-American Camp, where he earned all-star honors and competed in the "Cream of the Crop" game, while also participating in the Double Pump West Coast All-Star Camp.
General Studies major Born 5/25/91 in La Mirada, California.
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