No player in the Pac-12 has rendered more game film irrelevant over the past few years as Derrick Williams.
The former Arizona forward’s defection to the NBA after his sophomore last year last season has made the Wildcats almost unrecognizeable from one year to the next.
UCLA has had to catch up quickly on their new-look opponents, who head to the Honda Center tonight for the first game of the Wooden Classic.
Williams took his 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft behind Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, and now the Bruins need a crash course on Arizona’s vastly different offense.
“Last year you could tell that their whole offense was centered around Derrick Williams, and our whole defense was centered around Derrick Williams,” senior point guard Lazeric Jones said. “They’ve played a couple games this season that we’ve seen, and now their offense is much more well-rounded. We probably can’t watch any film from last year, because everything was so about Derrick.”
Consider: Williams scored 741 of the Wildcats’ 2,905 points last season, or 26 percent, and no other Wildcats scored in double-figures.
This year? Arizona has four players scoring between 10.4 and 12.1 points per game, with do-everything forward Solomon Hill leading the way.
If anyone has assumed Williams’ mantle for the Wildcats, it’s the Fairfax High product, who also paces the team with 7.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
“Arizona is a very hard team for us to matchup because it’s basically like playing against five guards,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “Solomon Hill is having a great year, leading them in assists, leading them in scoring, and he’s a particularly hard matchup.”