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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Derrick Williams eager to join T’Wolves

    Derrick Williams celebrates a win over the Duke Blue Devils March 24, 2011, in a NCAA West Regional game in the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Williams was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft on June 23, 2011, in Newark, NJ.

    NEWARK, N.J. — Former Arizona forward Derrick Williams officially became a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves when he was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, and said he is eager to play and make an impact with the rest of Minnesota’s young roster.

    Despite the fact that the Timberwolves already have Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley on their roster — both play the three and four positions, the place where Williams would fit best on the court — Williams said he thinks he will be able to find playing time.

    “”I work my butt off to get in that starting rotation,”” Williams said. “”They told me to do that to make me better, and I think that with everybody being so young on the team, I think you can push each other.””

    Whether Williams will be traded isn’t the only rumor flying at this year’s NBA Draft. Talk of whether Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis will return is still in question. Like the talk of trades however, Williams said he isn’t worried.

    “”I’m not really focused on that right now, who the coach is or what it isn’t going to be,”” he said. “”I’m not really focused on that.””

    The forward from La Mirada, Calif., also said he’s looking forward to playing with some of Minnesota’s big names, like forward Kevin Love and Spanish import point guard Ricky Rubio, because of their playing style.

    “”I’m happy, especially when people play that hard and you have people on your team that like to play hard, it’s always good,”” Williams said of the players Minnesota already has in place. “”They show a lot of effort and that’s what I like about the whole team.””

    Love averaged a double-double and led the NBA in rebounds with 15.2 per game this season.

    Rubio arrived in Minnesota this past week after a two-year-long attempt by Minnesota to buy him out from the Euroleague.

    “”Even though he has not played any games over here yet, when you have a pass-first point guard on your team, he wants to make you better,”” Williams said. “”Whenever you have a guy like that, it just brings joy to me; a guy that can get to the lane and kick out who wants to pass you the ball. He doesn’t care about points.

    “”And that’s what I like about him. I know we are going to have a big season this year, and hopefully win a lot more games than last season.””

    The T’Wolves finished with the worst record in the NBA in 2011, winning just 16 games. Despite the losing record, Williams said one of the reasons he wants to stay with Minnesota is that the connection with the team was “”immediate.”” During his workout, Williams said one coach described him as “”a monster.””

     ””I’m always eager to learn and I think that’s why they picked me, because I’m ready to learn,”” Williams said. “”I want to learn, and I want to get better and I want to make this team better.””

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