Willis: ‘It still hurts, but it’s all good’

Kentucky forward and Kentucky native Derek Willis expects to play in Tuesday night’s Blue-White Game. He said the finger he injured earlier this pre-season is almost fully mended.

“It’s doing fine,” he said Monday. “It still hurts, but it’s all good. I’m been playing and practicing.”

When will Willis be 100 percent? “Probably a week or something, hopefully,” he said.

Willis, who has played sparingly in his first two UK seasons, acknowledged that the injury had been a setback.

“I do think it set me back a little bit,” he said. “Now, it’s like I’m getting back in the swing of things. It’s all good.”

Teammate Alex Poythress suggested Willis is a different player this year.

“He’s more confident,” Poythress said. “He’s shooting it really well. Just doing things we know he can do. I don’t know. It’s just in his mind he doesn’t do it sometimes. We all know he’s got the ability and the talent to do that.”

UK Coach John Calipari said that Willis had become more mature.

“Just growing up as a person,” Calipari said. “Knowing who you are (and) what you’re about.”