Arizona basketball: Williams' season worthy of big stage

2011-04-10T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T10:13:58Z Arizona basketball: Williams' season worthy of big stageBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 10, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Derrick Williams wrapped up his electric sophomore season for the Arizona Wildcats - if not his college career - in fitting style this weekend.

Williams sat on the prestigious Wooden Award podium Friday night flanked by coach Sean Miller and four of college basketball's other best players. Even though BYU's Jimmer Fredette collected the top prize again, Williams' easygoing, level-headed personality prevailed.

"Just to be a nominee for this award is amazing!" Williams' Twitter page said Friday night. "Getting to know these All Americans is great & to know (they are) more then just bball players !"

Williams finished with a mix of first- and second-team All-America honors. He was given first-team (or top-five) honors by Sports Illustrated and the Wooden Award, while he was a second-team pick of The Associated Press and four other organizations.

How that broke down really didn't matter in Miller's mind. The fact is that Williams was in the group.

"Being an All-American in my mind is just a great honor," Miller said before the Wooden Award was announced. "First and second team is maybe a bit opinion-driven. But being an All-American says a lot about what you did and to me he deserves all those accolades, on the season that he had - even if it ended before the NCAA tournament.

"Like we know so well the impact that he had in those game-winning moments, it's easy to point at him being one of the best in college basketball."

Former UA star Miles Simon's Twitter account congratulated Williams on "one of the best single seasons in Arizona history" and the numbers are proof.

Williams obliterated UA's single-season records for free throws made (247) and attempted (331) and collected the third-highest point total with 741. He also finished just shy of breaking Steve Kerr's single-season three-point percentage mark: Williams shot 56.8 from long range, making 42 of 74, while Kerr was 114 of 199 (57.3) in 1987-88.

Williams' efficiency is not measured in the UA record book but can be seen by looking between the stat lines. Despite scoring those 741 points, Williams was not in UA's top 10 for field-goal attempts, three-point attempts, average minutes or total minutes played.

Slower recruiting pace

Not only does Miller say he's all but through with 2011 recruiting, barring mass departures, he said he's seeking only two more players for 2012.

The Wildcats are at the 12-player scholarship limit for 2012-13 but likely departures this spring for 2011-12 also will bring down the 2012-13 projections.

"We're not a program where we were a short time ago, trying to bring in eight players or 10 players," Miller said. "From this point on it really should settle in. Our recruiting for the most part this year is over. Moving to the class of 2012 we've invested a lot of time in what I would consider the right players."

UA has one commitment from the 2012 class in La Verne, Calif., forward Grant Jerrett, while Miller said he also is looking to add a post player and a wing or forward.

Help underneath

If Williams departs for the NBA, it's not clear who will play in the center/forward position. Miller said during his postseason news conference it would not be forward Jesse Perry - although he said Perry would add considerable bulk to the 210 pounds he played with this season - and that he hoped Kyryl Natyazhko would build on a strong final month.

"A lot of times those big guys make jumps between their sophomore and junior years, and hopefully he is one of those guys that will continue to improve," Miller said. "I don't think Kyryl is ever going to be a great scorer, but I know he can score better, and continue to contribute and be a better player. He's had two very good years of experience."

Miller also has a pair of 6-foot-8-inch incoming freshmen in Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol.

All-Star games

UA signee Josiah Turner had 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists during a high school all-star game in Houston last week, while Chol averaged 30.7 points and 18.3 rebounds during a tournament in Tijuana, Mexico.

On StarNet: Follow the Wildcats on Bruce Pascoe's blog at go.azstarnet.com/pascoe

HIGH ACHIEVEMENT

The accolades

First-team awards:

• Sports Illustrated All-America

Second-team awards:

• USBWA (writers) All-America

• AP (media) All-America

• Sporting News All-America

• NABC (coaches) All-America

• Basketball Times All-America

Individual:

• Pac-10 Player of the Year

• Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist

• Wooden Award ceremony invitee (top five vote-getter)

The records

Where Derrick Williams cracked Arizona's single-season record book in 2010-11:

1st: Free throws, 247; free throws attempted, 331; tied for first in games played and started, 38

2nd: Three-point percentage: 56.8

3rd: Points scored: 741

7th (tie): Rebounds: 314

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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