Derek Willis Becomes the First Member of John Calipari's 2013 Recruting Class

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2012

Photo @ ESPN
Photo @ ESPN

John Calipari landed his first commitment of the 2013 recruiting class when junior prospect Derek Willis gave the Wildcats a verbal at an assembly in his school this afternoon.  Willis is ranked as the No. 10 power forward and the No. 1 overall prospect in the state of Kentucky by ESPN.com.

Larry Vaught reported that Willis had decided on attending Kentucky nearly two weeks ago but decided to make the announcement public today to help take some pressure off of him and allow himself and his Bullitt East teammates to concentrate on the current (and next year's) season.

Willis also had offers from Indiana, Purdue and Louisville.  Surprisingly, he is the first Kentucky high school prospect to be signed by John Calipari (Darius Miller and John Hood were signed by Gillespie).

The fact that Willis spurned an offer from Louisville, a school that he is close to and that his family are huge fans of, is a huge win for Calipari and a giant set back to Rick Pitno's efforts to keep up with his program.

If Pitino can't secure a commitment from a kid that lives fairly close to campus and had his family pulling for him to go there, then it looks like Calipari is going to continue widening the gap between the two programs' recruiting classes every year.