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Derrick Williams, from decent prospect to lottery pick


In just two years, Derrick Williams went from Arizona’s least heralded recruit its 2009 class to a sure-fire NBA draft lottery selection, and possibly even the No. 1 overall pick.

The sophomore forward officially declared for the NBA Wednesday, capping a monster season that included Pac-10 player of the year and second-team All-America honors. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, made nearly 60 percent of his shots and had the Wildcats on the brink of the Final Four.

That’s what you call boosting your draft stock.

“I have enjoyed my two years at Arizona both on and off the court,” Williams said in a statement. “I want to thank my teammates, who are like brothers to me, my coaches and all Wildcat Fans for making my experience an unforgettable one.”

Arizona hasn’t had a guy with this much draft buzz since Mike Bibby back in 1998 when the Grizz took Bibby No. 2. Difference is, Bibby was always seen a future NBA player. Williams wasn’t even in’s top 150 back in 2009.

Now he leaves as one of the Wildcats’ top players of all time – Sean Elliott, Bibby, Damon Stoudamire and Jason Terry are on that list – and waits for NBA millions.

And for the eventual “tweener” talk. Hey, he can’t win ‘em all.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.