As the Arizona Wildcats arrived back on campus at 11 p.m from their impressive NCAA Tournament campaign, fans filled the McKale Center to welcome back their beloved athletes. Chants of ‘One More Year!’ erupted in McKale as soon as Williams walked in the door. It was rather clear that fans were there to know one thing: Is sophomore star forward, Derrick Williams, returning for one more year at Arizona? Before the tournament Williams, the Pac 10 Player of the Year, was a celebrity. Now, after leading the Wildcats to their first Elite Eight since 2005, Williams is a god. Fans believe this god of the basketball court will be able to lead Arizona back to greatness. But does he want to?
Williams has flown under the radar for much of his collegiate basketball career. In 2009, he was ranked #72 on ESPN's list of top prospects. To put that into perspective, Kyryl Natyazhko was #39. Despite being the former Pac 10 Freshman of the Year, Williams continued to not get much national attention, even though he lead the Wildcats to a Pac-10 best 27-7 regular season record. But a stellar 32-point (25 of which came in the 1st half) performance which helped Arizona blow out #1 seed Duke 93-77 in the Sweet Sixteen, NBA scouts are raving. Derrick Williams has skyrocketed past Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger to become the #2 rated draft prospect on ESPN. He also passed these same players with the addition of Jonas Valanciunas to become #2 on DraftExpress’ list of NBA prospects as well.
After Williams and his teammates left the floor, Derrick returned with Momo Jones, as the crowed was relentless with the ‘One More Year!’ chant. Momo and Williams kept their speeches short, as they thanked their dedicated fans for the support. Although Williams did not make a decision about whether or not he would declare for the NBA Draft, before he waved to the crowd and walked off the floor, he added this: “As of now, I’m still in school.” Could Williams be hinting that he will be returning to Arizona to join his teammates and an elite recruiting class? Sean Miller’s recruiting class features ESPN 2nd highest rated point guard Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson, Sidiki Johnson, and Angelo Chol. Derrick Williams combined with these incoming freshman are sure to make Arizona a preseason top 5 team.
Nobody can be entirely sure whether or not Williams will return, but one thing is for sure: Wherever he goes, Williams will make some fans very happy.