2011 Nba Draft Grades Derrick Williams Minnesota Timberwolves Kyrie Irving Arizona Wildcats Nba

Derrick Williams on Being Taken Second By Minnesota: “I’m happy where I’m at and just want to get out there and play.”
June 27, 2011 – 7:30 am by Michael Bean
The 2011 NBA Draft has come and gone. Now, with the immediate future of the league in limbo thanks to an impending lockout, there appears to be plenty of time in the near future to speculate as to which draft picks will go on to great things, and conversely, who might turn out to be ‘busts’. There are those who believe that the No. 2 overall pick, Derek Williams, is the best scorer in the draft and will go on to be an All Star. There are others though who think that Williams has ‘bust’ potential, at least in the sense that he might not come close to living up to his No. 2 pick status. If you ask me, I’m a bit concerned he might rely too much on his above-average shooting ability for someone his size and wind up being more like Channing Frye than, say, Kevin Durant. We’ll see. Williams will certainly have every opportunity to play right away on the Minnesota Timberwolves young squad. And with plenty of distributors from the point guard position, as well as an unselfish player in Kevin Love to take some of the load off of him defensively, Williams may find himself in a nice situation in Minneapolis to get his career started.

Williams joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to talk about what went through his mind in the aftermath of being drafted No. 2 overall in this year’s NBA Draft, if he’s disappointed or upset that he wasn’t taken first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, how much he thinks his stellar play in last year’s March Madness run with the Arizona Wildcats helped his draft stock, joining a Minnesota Timberwolves squad where he’ll likely have every chance in the world to play right away, whether he heard or read about all the pre-draft rumors about Minnesota potentially trading away the second pick, specifically the one involving the Phoenix Suns moving up to No. 2 and potentially selecting Williams, whether he plans to change his Twitter handle from DWillufA23 to include something Timberwolves related, and how important it was for Arizona to retain head coach Sean Miller so that the Wildcats program can continue to build on the momentum they established last season.
On what’s been going through his mind in the 24 hours since he was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft:
“It’s just a great experience for me and myself and also my family, just hearing my name being called by David Stern and walking on that stage and shaking his hand. I think that’s every basketball player’s dream and I’m finally here. I just really felt accomplished at that point.”
If he’s irked at all that he didn’t go No. 1 overall:
“It just shows a lot of motivation striving to be the No. 1 pick. Not everybody can be the No. 1 pick. There’s been a lot of great No. 2 picks — you look at Kevin Durant, he’s a prime example. He didn’t let that discourage him, he just took it as motivation. Whenever you have people like that, you can really learn from people that are older than you and have made it in this league already.”
On how much he thinks the great NCAA Tournament he had helped his draft stock:
“Yeah, I don’t think a lot of people gave our conference the respect we should have had. We had four [teams] in the tournament from our conference, so it was a great year for the Pac 10. I just wanted to represent the school I went to and the whole conference. So them not giving us enough respect, and then beating a powerhouse like Duke, it was a great experience. Even before that, they were saying the Pac 10′s weak, and beating a school like Texas; and then even before that one, beating a Conference USA team like Memphis. So all in all we beat three great teams, and then lost to the champions and we only lost by two and that was a great team. So I think I earned a lot of respect throughout the tournament.”
On joining a young team in Minnesota that he’ll get to play for right away:
“Yeah we’re one of the youngest teams in the league actually, and just adding me to the mix makes our whole team even younger. And whenever you have a great group of guys with fresh legs that want to win more games, it’s really important. There’s no veterans on this team. So everybody just wants to win more games, and when you have young players like that, that just becomes the main goal, the main focus — just to win more. So I think everybody just wants to win.”
If he heard any of the pre-draft rumors that hinted at the possibility of him joining the Suns were they to trade up to the second pick:
“Yeah I heard so many different rumors and things like that. I heard the Lakers rumor, I heard the Phoenix rumor, I’ve heard so many different rumors. That one actually really jumped out to me, that Phoenix trade. But they said they wanted to keep the pick and they want me to be here, so we’ll see. I heard that they wanted to keep me. So at the end of the day, I’m happy where I’m at and just want to get out there and play again.”
If he feels any pressure to uphold the tradition of great Arizona players to go on to productive careers in the NBA:
“Yeah, whenever you go to a great school like Arizona, you’re expected to go to the league and produce, especially if you’re a high draft pick. I think me and Mike Bibby have the highest draft picks ever in the school’s history. It’s up to me to determine, as long as I stay healthy and just keep my focus, I think I can have a good career. And everybody that goes to Arizona is supposed to have a good career, so I don’t want to let anybody down at that school. So they picked me No. 2 for a reason, and hopefully I can do things to live up to that.”
Whether he plans to change his Twitter handle from DWilluofA23 to a new name that includes anything Timberwolves related:
[Laughs] “I’m not going to change that part of it. I may change the length of the name, but I want to keep that U of A in there. I changed my number from 23 to 7, but I want to keep that U of A in there, but we’ll see, hopefully I can.”
On how important he feels it was for Coach Sean Miller to remain at Arizona after the successful season Miller’s Wildcats had last season:
“Yeah it’s really important, especially since we still have a young team. And I think just having a coach there that’s stable. You have older players there that can help the younger guys with all the plays and the defensive strategies and what coach likes. Just things like that. I think that’s really important when you have a coach like that. And when you have a school that’s talking about changing coaches, it really hurts the future of the program, the future recruits that change their mind in the middle of the recruiting process that don’t want to go to Arizona. I don’t want that to ever be the case with a great school like that. I take pride in the school I went to in Arizona and I want all the best recruits to go there. I want a lot of people to go there and be better than me, and win a National Championship, things that I didn’t do.”
Listen here to Williams with Bickley & MJ ON XTRA 910 in Phoenix
Tags: 2011 NBA Draft, Derek Williams, Kyrie Irving, Minnesota Timberwolves, No. 2 picks in NBA draft history, XTRA 910 Phoenix

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