Rising Star: Derek Willis [Sports]

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Bullitt East's Derek Willis is one of the top young players in the state. The 6-foot-8 sophomore has improved tremendously since last season and he has the potential to be a special player. Last week the Chargers participated in the King of the Bluegrass. I caught up with Bullitt East coach Troy Barr and spoke with him about Willis' game.

Willis can play three positions on the floor. He is most comfortable playing small forward but with his height, length and athletic ability, Willis can play power forward or center if needed.

"Derek is very gifted," Barr said. "He has a great wingspan. He's very athletic and for his size he handles the ball and sees the floor very well. Derek has a bright future in high school and college. He has all the tools to be a great player. We've given him a lot of freedom to handle the ball. We would like him to be a little more aggressive but he's getting better at that."

Willis is an outstanding shooter for his size. He leads the Chargers in three point shooting. In fact coach Barr would like to see him shoot the ball more. 

"He's shooting over 50 percent from the three point line right now," Barr said. "We need him to shoot it more."

Willis is one of three college prospects on the team. Many college coaches have been to Bullitt East to see seniors Hayden Sweat and Corey Washburn but by the time they leave they are all talking at Willis.

"Every school that has come to see Hayden (Sweat) and Corey (Washburn) have fallen in love with Derek," Barr said. "Eastern Kentucky has seen and they like him. Every college coach that I've talked to has fallen in love with him."

The Chargers are of to an 8-3 start this season. The got a big win over Christian County, who entered the season ranked in the top five, in the King of the Bluegrass. 

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