It should come as no surprise Arizona sophomore Derrick Williams (right) announced today he’s leaving the Wildcats and declared for the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-8 forward who was named Pac-10 Player of the Year last season is projected as a top 5 pick and could go No. 1 overall. He averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds and carried Arizona to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight and a regular-season conference title.
“After careful consideration and with the support of my family and Coach (Sean) Miller, I have decided to declare for the 2011 NBA Draft,” Williams said in a statement released by the school. “I have enjoyed my two years at Arizona both on and off the court. I want to thank my teammates, who are like brothers to me, my coaches and all Wildcat Fans for making my experience an unforgettable one.”
Miller anticipated his star sophomore would bolt for the NBA, which is why Arizona signed a large recruiting class. Even with Williams leaving, Arizona has 14 scholarship players on the roster next season and that is two more than its 12-man scholarship limit.
Williams is the latest from the conference who will leave school early. The others include Washington’s Isaiah Thomas, USC’s Nikola Vucevic and UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee.
Colorado’s Alec Burks and Washington State’s Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto are expected to make decisions on their futures soon.
Photo credit: McClatchy Newspapers – Allen J. Schaben
AROUND THE PAC-12:
— Malcolm Lee is no longer testing the NBA draft waters. The UCLA junior guard has plunged into the pool of pro prospects with both feet. He hired an agent, which officially ends his college career.
— No official announcement from Oregon, but the Ducks are expected to sign Carlos Emory, a 6-7 forward at Howard College in Big Spring, Texas.
— Oregon State awarded a scholarship to Kevin McShane, a former walk-on who will be the only senior on the team next season. Despite not being on scholarship and playing limited minutes, the 6-foot-9 forward is a two-time captain.
The Beavers also signed Challe Barton, a 6-3 point guard from Sweden.
— Colorado was expected to sign Jeremy Adams, a 6-5 shooting guard from Mississippi who originally signed with Texas A&M out of high school and spent last season at Navarro College.
April 13, 2011 at 5:13 PM
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