No one will be able to overlook Williams

LOS ANGELES — Derrick Williams would seem hard to miss.

He's the 6-foot-9, 248-pound, 20-year-old in the gray T-shirt that reads, "I'M THAT DUDE."

On a recent night in a Marina del Rey restaurant he's among patrons half his size, and soon to be a fraction as rich.

Yet the waiters shuffle by — "Excuse me, sir? Excuse me?" he says to no avail — as if he's not there.

But Williams' place in the spotlight will come Thursday when the lightly recruited La Mirada High product turned-Arizona star forward struts on stage in a tailored black suit as the likely first or second overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

His agent, Rob Pelinka, who also represents Kobe Bryant, guaranteed Williams either the first pick to Cleveland or second to Minnesota. Williams worked out only for those teams and says he hopes to go first over Duke guard Kyrie Irving.

"They said he did really well. They said I did really well, too," Williams says of his Cleveland workout.

If he does go to Cleveland, he won't wear the number he did at Arizona: 23. "They probably banned that number anyways," Williams says, a reference to LeBron James.

But despite this draft's dearth of talent, one NBA scout says Williams would be a lottery pick almost any year.

"No question. You can't deny the year he had at Arizona," the scout says, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to publicly discuss college players.

In his sophomore season, Williams averaged 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, shot 59% from the floor, was named the Pacific 10 Conference player of the year, and led Arizona to a 30-8 record and within a two-point loss of a Final Four appearance.

Williams is a mismatch offensively because he's more athletic than most power forwards and bigger than most small forwards. "He is going to cause havoc on the offensive end," the scout says.

But his defense and rebounding are potential weak spots. On average, Williams grabbed one rebound every 3.6 minutes last season. For his size, he should be closer to grabbing one every three minutes, the scout says.

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