After a surprising run to the Elite Eight, the Arizona Wildcats are on the right track to national prominence. But that resurgence could take a detour if Derrick Williams decides to go pro and enter the 2011 NBA Draft. An All-American in 2010-11, Williams scored over 19 points a game during the season.
Most impressive, however, was Williams during the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Scoring nearly 23 points a game, Derrick Williams put his team on his back and led them with confidence, swagger and authority. College fans across the nation were blown away by the athleticism, talent, and drive that Williams played with against his opposition. He was clearly a man among boys.
From highlight reel dunks against Duke to spotting up and making an open three-pointer, Derrick Williams has exhibited the majority of traits required of a successful NBA basketball player. But as a sophomore, will he declare for the draft?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Williams had this to say after his team's heartbreaking loss to UConn in the Elite Eight:
"I'm not answering any questions about that, no questions about the next level, no questions about the NBA," Williams said.
I'm not going to sit here and compare Williams to Sullinger. It's clear that Derrick Williams is more polished, more versatile, and at this point, more talented. From a logical perspective, he should enter the NBA Draft. His stock has never been higher, and he is a lock for a top 3 pick. With the money he will earn from that contract, it must be very tempting.
At the same time, coach Sean Miller has cultivated a special environment for his team in Tucson. Leaving a program he assisted in rebuilding would be difficult to do, but much like James Harden leaving ASU after his sophomore season, it only makes sense.
Arizona fans across the country are hoping that Williams sees it differently.
For more coverage on Derrick Williams and the Arizona Wildcats, check out AZ Desert Swarm.