"You'd have to give me four million dollars." This is what Derrick Williams told me late Saturday night, when I asked him if he would be staying another year at the University of Arizona.
There was some obvious humor in the way Williams said it, but it also shows what is on his mind.
He certainly has his mind on the guaranteed contracts, that top picks in the NBA draft receive, and at the age of 19 (will be 20 by the June 23 NBA draft) who can blame him.
As of today, Derrick Williams is solidified within the top five of all major NBA Draft websites. NBADraft.net has him going as the number one pick, while DraftExpress.com has him going number 5. Also, ESPN.com has Williams going number four.
With this information, a 'Go' and 'Stay' pro/con list is the best way to sort everything out.
Reason's to Stay:
Arizona will be a serious threat to win a National Championship in the 2011-2012 season. With possibly the best recruiting class in Wildcat history, and rated eight in the country by ESPN, Arizona will have all the potential in the world.
Another reason is his defense has always been an area which has been criticized. With a full summer with Coach Sean Miller, plus any former players that come back to use the new Richard Jefferson Gym, Williams will be able to become a complete player that is feared on both ends of the court.
A final reason is the college environment. As everyone has been told, "it was the best four years of my life" and "it only happens once in your life." This is what Williams will have to decide. Does he want to leave a life where all he really has to do is show up to class once in a while (what teacher would even think of failing him?) and have fun on the court?
Derrick Williams will have to decide if he wants to continue being a kid for another year, or if he wants his career to start and become an adult at the age of 20.
Reason's to Go:
A guaranteed contract in the range of five to twelve million dollars would be the greatest reason to leave. If Williams did decide to come back and a tragic injury happened, that money could be gone and he may never see it again.
Another reason to go also involving money, is Williams being only 22 or 23 when he could sign his first real contract. That would mean that, if warranted, he could sign a max contract, at 27 or 28 which would give him the opportunity for another contract in his middle 30's. In today's NBA, it is all about timing and how old one is when their contract ends.
Also by leaving college, Derrick Williams can focus completely on the NBA and not have to worry about classes. He would also be playing against some of the best players in the world, instead of college players, which would greatly help his improvement.
With these reason's given, I would put that the odds of him going to the NBA is close to 80/20. There is just too much money involved at this point, and Derrick Williams seems to have done almost everything possible, minus win a National Championship, but this is still attainable.
A great Pac-10 tournament and NCAA tournament will almost make him a unanimous top two pick, while a so-so performance should keep him where he is presently, which would still be too much too pass up.
It would be amazing to have D-Will back in an Arizona uniform next season, but everyone should be prepared when Williams makes his decision, to congratulate him on success in the NBA.