Blog Entry

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: August 5, 2011 12:15 pm

By Jeff Borzello

The major story surrounding Derek Willis on Thursday was the news of his decommitment from Purdue.

The father of Willis, a top-50 junior from Bullitt East High School in Kentucky, later denied the commitment withdrawal, but said we would all know more on Sunday.

If this were solely a decommitment story, though, you would find it on the recruiting blog.

This is about a quote found at the bottom of an article at’s Purdue affiliate site, made by Del Willis, Derek’s father.

“I don’t know if I can trust a Coach [Rick] Pitino or Coach [John] Calipari,” Willis said. “Their agenda is more for their benefit than the kid’s. They’re more worried about themselves.”

Remember, Willis is a four-star recruit from the state of Kentucky – and his father is disparaging the two biggest coaches in the commonwealth, if not the country. Besides the implications that his father clearly doesn’t want him staying in-state for college, it’s very interesting that he would alienate two of the most successful programs.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact Willis’ high school coach said Kentucky and Louisville have already reached out since news of Willis’ decommitment leaked out on Thursday.

This will certainly be fun to follow in the next few weeks, especially if Willis has indeed decommitted. One can assume his father will fight to keep Calipari and Pitino far, far away from his son’s recruitment.


Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: June 8, 2012 1:56 pm

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

Wow, I guess you don't realize that both have won national championships and put many players in the NBA? Who is the knucklehead?  

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Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: September 14, 2011 11:53 pm

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

Teres Minor, I "assume" you are an uneducated, wellfare drawing, person that hates the environment.  I just thought since you were making stupid, unsubstantiated comments, I would give them back to you.  You have no basis for those comments and it is unfair to the University of Kentucky, Louisville University, coach Calipari and Rick Pitino.  Both of those coaches have a "proven" history of helping their recruits and players to become better players and to prepare them for the NBA, which is what any 4 or 5 star player is probably looking for regardless of the university they attend.  Coach C gives of himself to his players and charities, which I doubt Mr. Minor does.  As for your comment that "one of the two schools mentioned has come up with an under the table way to soothe poor Del's feelings" do you really believe either "school"  cares what Dell or his son thinks or does and certainly would not pay him to console his feelings.  The true odds are that you have no idea what Kentucky would or would not do in a real world situation versus the fantasy you are dreaming about.

Since: Aug 5, 2009
Posted on: August 8, 2011 3:46 am

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

Wow, I guess you don't realize that both have won national championships and put many players in the NBA? Who is the knucklehead?  

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: August 7, 2011 1:31 pm

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

If Willis wants to play for a school and coach that is for the players he should go to Gonzaga. Coach Few has turned down many coaching offers at bigger universities because he is commited to Gonzaga and his program there because he is commited to his players. It is also a great place to play for the atheletes because the Gonzaga fans and the city of Spokane really get behind the team and and support it like crazy.

Since: Aug 7, 2011
Posted on: August 7, 2011 5:38 am

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

Before you were thrilled to have someone as high as a 4 star, now that he decomits, you don't think he would make it?  If the kid and his dad are afraid to compete with the best talent on a daily basis, then he isn't a kentucky caliber player.  There are plenty of 5 star players ready to take the challenge.

Since: Aug 6, 2011
Posted on: August 6, 2011 5:48 pm

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

As a UK Alum who follows the action from afar, I don't get involved in the flying brickbats with Card fans, but I don't see them everyday at work, with all the baack and forth irritation that involves.  So I can't speak to what Rick has done to be considered "slimy", beyond his obvious strayingfrom his  marital vows, but htat would not seem relevant to a potential player.
       And the only things that are usually thrown up with Cal is the problems caused by actions of players which lead to vacating victories and championships.  And in both of these the NCAA has found Calipari innocentThat is there was no evidence llinking him to the violations.   None.
; And the overwhelming evidence is that he has acted in the players interests, tot he extent of encouraging players to make the move to the NBA, even when the player had doubts about whether he was ready.  Obviously it is in the program's interest to keep a player rather than see him move on to the pros, every Cat fan would loved to have had, say John Wall, for four years, Any school would have wanted to keep such players. 
       A coach has responsibilities to his school, to the team, and to the players, and they may seem to conflict at times.  But a good coach honors all those  responsibilities, and so far the evisdence is that Calipari does so very well. 
       You can hate Calipari and Kentucky if you want, afterall I have no great love for Duke (LOL) and positively have no use for Bobby Knight, at all.    
I think Del Willis is loony to make a public statement about his doubts about the coachs of the two "brand name" basketball programs in Kentucky.  Not knowing what lead up to tthe statement, and whether his "doubts" are well founded, but given the stature of both programs, I think he should have kept his feelings to himself.  "Here's your sign!" (and it reads "Dumb".)

Since: Jul 27, 2009
Posted on: August 6, 2011 10:21 am

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

Look at Luke Winn's article in SI on Decommitments. If Willis decommitted w/o a valid reason (coaching change, etc.) while in HS, the odds are much more likely he transfers while in college as well.  

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: August 6, 2011 3:26 am

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

The honesty is refreshing. If you say that they will be ostracized or worse at home (by knuckleheads) then perhaps it would be wise to say nothing. But until more dads speak out about the reality that is facing college recruits in many schools it will not change. I would say, also, that it is unlike Calipari to recruit a four star player, isn't it? Maybe one from the commonwealth is needed to keep the idea that they are, you know, Kentucky and not NBA, Jr.

It is hard for young men to discern the motives of adults as smooth as this pair. Perhaps that is why dads still get involved. But dad, there are coaches in the country that run top programs and still care about the players and their outcome. Coaches who have an APR of 1.000 meaning their student athletes are actually student athletes who make progress every semester toward graduation and a life beyond basketball. The NCAA publishes a list of those coaches for anyone to see.

It is also educational about life to encounter this process. Because unless it is advantageous to the other party, be it employer, coach or mate, it will not work. Part of maturing is learning how to market ourselves (hopefully truthfully) by emphasizing our strengths while seeking to address our weaknesses. A little honest goes a long way and a little dishonesty nearly always comes back in disaster. Just ask coach Calipari and coach Pitino.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 5, 2011 7:33 pm

I smell some bluegrass state cash

I have a feeling one of the two schools mentioned has come up with an under the table way to soothe poor Del's feelings.  The odds are that it is Kentucky.  At any rate, it is always entertaining to see Purdue's reaction to losing a recruit to another school.  

Since: Jan 27, 2007
Posted on: August 5, 2011 4:56 pm

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

If you read the linked article and have followed his recruitment, sounds like a good kid with solid support from parents and coaches.  However, that is a shot at Cal and Pitino...awesome.  Hope he ends up at Purdue, but shows the risks involved with making such early offers.

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