After two seasons of playing sparingly on teams loaded with front court talent, Kentucky junior forward Derek Willis entered practice this fall with hopes of earning more playing time. While that goal is still a reachable one, Willis will be playing catch-up thanks to a finger injury (left hand) suffered during practice Saturday.
According to the school Willis will be sidelined for two weeks as a result of the injury, and he’s the second Wildcat to get hurt this fall. Guard Dominique Hawkins will miss four weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his broken right hand earlier this week. Also of note for Willis is that he’ll miss out on the team’s open practice Sunday, which will be broadcast nationally and be attended by many NBA scouts and executives.
While his draft prospects may not be on par with those of a Skal Labissiere or Jamal Murray, it would have been a nice showcase for a player who didn’t get to play very much the last two years.
“I’m happy that it’s not something that will keep Derek out very long, but I’m disappointed because I really wanted him to participate in tomorrow’s open practice,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in the release. “It’s nothing serious and he will be back in a couple weeks, but I’m disappointed for him because he had been doing so well. He deserved to show his stuff tomorrow. He’s made great strides and will bounce back from this.”