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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Q&A: Derrick Williams

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Nic Wise iced the game in double-overtime with a layup with just over one second left to beat the USC Trojans 86-84 Saturday in McKale Center. It was Senior Day for the Cats as Nic Wise played his last game in McKale.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Nic Wise iced the game in double-overtime with a layup with just over one second left to beat the USC Trojans 86-84 Saturday in McKale Center. It was Senior Day for the ‘Cats as Nic Wise played his last game in McKale.

PHOENIX – There are a handful of reasons Arizona didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but there’s one in particular that heavily outweighs the rest.

He wears a No. 7 jersey with an NBA logo in the upper right corner. His name is Derrick Williams.

While Arizona gradually comes to grips with the fact that its Wednesday matchup with Bucknell is in fact in the NIT, Williams is adjusting the NBA life with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Daily Wildcat caught up with the former Arizona big man to get his take on his NBA experience, UA missing the NCAA Tournament and the development of his own kicks.

On his rookie season: “It’s been good man. Ups and downs but at the same time a lot of rookies, especially high draft picks don’t have the chance to be in a playoff hunt. Most of the time they’re one of the last place teams but we’re right here in the playoff hunt. Even though the lockout happened, it’s everything I expected. Just having fun man. We might not win every game but at the same time doing what you love to do.”

On participating in the NBA dunk contest: “It was fun, especially being my rookie season, getting asked to be in it. That was something I wanted to be a part of in my NBA career. Hopefully in a couple of years I’ll be able to get in that 3-point contest as well and do everything I want to do and check it off that list.”

On if he watched Selection Sunday: “We didn’t get a chance to. I heard the news that we didn’t make it. It’s pretty hard man especially when two of the top players in the scoring category leave the team. It’s hard but at the same time they had a good season just came one or two games too short. Yeah I talked to a couple of the guys. They were bummed, especially going from being in the elite eight to not making the tournament. At the same time they learned from it. They have a couple of seniors on the team but they made the NIT. They’ll try and go out with a win, you don’t want to go out by losing a game. That’s all I tell them.”

On Kyle Fogg playing the most games in Arizona history: “That’s crazy man. I didn’t know that. That’s a great accomplishment so congrats to him on that. I feel for him. Him and Brendon and Jesse and those guys. At the same time they’re about to go on and live their dream. A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to go on a play basketball as a living but those three guys can do that, whether it be here or overseas. That’s the good thing about those guys, they have options.”

On if he had talked to Momo Jones: “Yeah I actually talked to him yesterday. Being the fact that he left and they made the tournament and Arizona didn’t. It’s a little crazy man. I think it’s worked in the world. He’s doing a great job over there. What he wants to do is up to him. I’m not sure what is going to happen after this season but he’s done a great job with all the things he’s been through so far.”

On if he thinks he’s surprised people in the NBA: “I’m knocking down shots from the perimeter, mid-range shots, getting to the basket, going by people. It’s things like that. That’s what you have to do in this league. There’s always going to be somebody there who says you can’t do this or that. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Ever since the second half of the season started I’ve been picking it up and trying to help this team get to the playoffs.”

On what he misses most about Tucson: “Just being there. Just being a kid out there. Not it’s a business but at the same time I’m 20 years old. Being 20 in this business, it’s a little different but at the same time. I miss being a kid out there, going to class, meeting all these people and things like that. It was fun.”

On coming out with his own shoe: “Maybe next year coming up. It’s in the design process. We’ll see. Hopefully in the next year coming up.”

On his relationship with Channing Frye: “We know each other. I wouldn’t say it’s the best relationship but all U of A people who go to the league are really close. I talk to him when I see him and say what’s up. We’ve got that mutual respect of trying to put U of A back on the map and that’s what we both did.”

On what Sean Miller meant to his development: “It meant a lot, especially when I first got there. He told me I could be a really, really good player one day. He said listen to what I say and that’s exactly what I did. I trusted him and once you earn a coach’s trust he’s going to put the ball in your hands and that’s what he did for me. He just let me go to work. I owe a lot to him because he really helped out with my development. Being able to have that confidence to shoot, giving me the green light.”

On the similarities between Miller and Rick Adelman: “They’re really similar. They’re really defensive minded. They want to get after the ball, bring pressure out there and disrupt their offense. He’s really big on individual development. In order for your team play to get better your individual play has to get better and they both preach that. You’ve got to get better. You can’t rely on draft picks all the time. They’re both big on individual development in the offseason.”

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