LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s Derek Willis has found an NBA home in Detroit. The forward from Mt. Washington, Ky., has agreed to a one-year deal with the Pistons, first reported by ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
Going to be a Detroit Piston !
— Derek Willis (@derek_willis33) July 20, 2017
Willis’ path to the NBA doesn’t follow the typical arc of a John Calipari player. The 6-foot-9 forward played four years at Kentucky. He played in all 38 games and made 15 starts as a senior. Willis was an instrumental piece in Kentucky’s Elite Eight run in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
Willis will bring a stretch-four skill set to the Motor City. He was second on the team last season with 49 made 3-pointers.
Kentucky teammates De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo were all lottery picks in the NBA Draft, but Willis didn’t hear his name called. He played summer league with Detroit and clearly the Pistons liked him enough to keep him on board.
Willis averaged 11 minutes and 3.5 points per game in four summer league contests. He shot 5 of 14 from the field.