We knew Derrick Williams could score. We knew he could hit from outside, inside, from the free-throw line and grab rebounds.
But until Saturday, I don’t think the nation knew Williams could bring it on defense, either. This game-saving block against Washington still makes me jump out of my seat.
As a result, the sophomore forward is already being mentioned with some of Arizona’s all-time greats. And that’s not a list of chumps, either. We’re talking Sean Elliott, Damon Stoudemire, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Terry, Mike Bibby, Jason Gardner, Michael Dickerson and Luke Walton, to name a few.
Williams’ coach certainly thinks so.
“The thing about Arizona is we have such a spectacular tradition of winning teams, championships that everyone in here has seen this before,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said Saturday. “But when you look at the individual history of players having great seasons — I may be speaking out of turn on this — I think you have to probably put Derrick’s season to this point up there with some of the great ones that have played at Arizona.”
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was more succinct about Williams’ 26-point, 11-rebound outing.
“Derrick Williams was obviously a monster,” he said.
He’s the biggest reason the Wildcats (23-4, 12-2) are nearing their first Pac-10 title since 2005. Williams’ season numbers – 19.7 points, 8.1 rebounds – don’t blow you away until you consider how he gets them.
He doesn’t chuck a ton of shots, but gets to the free-throw line more often than all but three D-I players. When he does shoot, it counts. His eFG% (69.2) and TS% (71.9) are the best in the nation. In fact, nobody scores more efficiently.
Then there’s this nugget:
Like everything else wasn’t enough, Williams’ 3-point shooting might set a record? (He’s currently 25 of 36.) That’s just silly.
Talk about a special player.
“He’s just been a spectacular player for us,” Miller said. “It’s hard to believe, when I think back when I first came here in the fall, with his first practice as a freshmen, and only a year and a half later where he is. He’s just really a special guy and I’m glad we have him.”
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