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#16 Greatest Wildcat of All Time: Derrick Williams

May 24th, 2012 News No Comments

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Ezra Amacher

PGU is counting down our 25 greatest Wildcats of all time. To see the honorable mention and how the rankings are formulated, click here.

#25: Hassan Adams (35.08 points)
#24: Sean Rooks (35.29 points)
#23: Anthony Cook (35.74 points)
#22: Al Fleming (37.31 points)
#21: Chase Budinger (37.52 points)
#20: Loren Woods (37.57)
Derrick Williams: #16 (40.31)

Time As a Wildcat
Not many players have made such a significant impact on Arizona basketball as Derrick Williams. A member of Sean Miller’s inaugural recruiting class in Tucson, he helped the Cats return to prominence in his two prolific seasons.

In his first, he quickly made a name for himself by shooting .575% from the field and constantly getting to the free throw line. His 15.7 scoring average made him an obvious recipient of the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award.

While fans in the west coast were familiar with Williams’ talents heading into the 2010-11 season, the majority of college basketball fans were not. That changed quickly in the season when he had a number of excellent performances on national television.

The La Mirada native’s sophomore season will not be soon forgotten. He averaged nearly 20 points thanks to a ridiculous .568 three point shooting percentage and an NCAA leading 331 free throw attempts.

Williams came up with a number of huge plays that helped Arizona reach an improbable Elite Eight and his 32 points against Duke marked the climax of an incredible career.

Career After Arizona
NBA scouts were drooling over Williams’ play down the stretch of sophomore season. He was the number two pick in the draft, selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mike Bibby is the only other Wildcat to be drafted as high.

This past season, he was used primarily in a sixth man role but did start 15 games. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds, earning him second-team All-Rookie honors.

Legacy
If the rankings were decided on which players meant the most to Arizona basketball, Williams would be right near the top. His play accelerated the rebuilding process at least a year or two and his performances in the NCAA Tournament were an exclamation point.

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