Q & A: Indiana junior forward Christian Watford

  • 10/06/2011 10:21 pm in

Following Thursday’s media challenge at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, several members of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers were made available to discuss the upcoming season. Inside the Hall will have transcripts of each interview in the coming days.

Up first: junior forward Christian Watford, who led the Hoosiers in scoring last season with 16 points per game.

Q. Talk about your individual growth since last season. Where do you think you’ve grown the most as a player?

A. “I feel like my conditioning has gotten a lot better. Wind, stamina, that’s increased a lot coming into this year. I feel like my ball handling skills have increased a lot this year. I’m just getting ready and looking forward to it.”

Q. When you were in high school, you played a lot more on the wing. The first couple of years here, based on personnel, you’ve played more on the block. With Cody (Zeller) getting here, do you see yourself getting out and playing a little more on the wing?

A. “Oh yeah. He’s going to help me tremendously. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, he’s a big guy that’s going to be able to block some shots. He’s a great offensive threat so he’s going to draw a lot of double teams so that should free me up.”

Q. Defense was one thing you guys struggled with last year. What do you see differently this year from a defensive standpoint?

A. “You can always get better. Defense is more a heart type thing and we’ve been working on it this whole time. It’s almost like determination. We’ve been working on it, working on our technique and stuff like that. I feel like we’ll be a lot better.”

Q. In what ways do you think this team is going to be different? What are you going to be able to do now that you maybe weren’t able to do a year ago?

A. “We’re going to run a lot more. With Cody, he’s a big guy that can get out and run the court. That’s going to help us a lot. He’s also a big guy that’s a great offensive threat. That should open a lot of things for us.”

Q. A lot of people talk about Cody, but talk about Remy (Abell) and Austin (Etherington), what you’ve seen out of them and what they’re going to bring to the team.

A. “Austin’s going to be able to help us a lot. He’s a big guard that’s going to be able to stretch the floor. Remy, he’s going to be able to do the same thing. He can handle the ball a little bit and he’s another big guard that can get out and guard bigger guards in the Big Ten.”

Q. It seems like a lot of guys worked on dribble-drive. How much better will you be at that and how important is that to what you guys do on offense?

A. “It’s going to be a big part of our offense. A lot of guys have been working on it and I feel like it’s only going to help us.”

Q. How much does strength and conditioning play into that?

A. “It’s going to make us a lot more athletic in certain situation. Whenever you can get to the basket and finish, it’s going to be a great thing.”

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)

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  • Kelin Blab

    Dribble Drive baby coming to a IU game near you. Get use to it folks, it is here to stay

  • Anonymous

    Interesting comment on Austin being able to help the team “a lot”    what if he or Remy or even one of the returning players outside of Hulls and Watford has a huge break out year?  Can you imagine how good we will be?     We already know we will have the 2 best forwards on the floor in nearly every game in Zeller and Wat, Hulls will more than hold his own at the point, Pritch will be more than serviceable on D,   IF we can find 14+ ppg shooting guard out of the rest of the bunch, we will be in the NCAA tournament, and will have a chance to play into the second weekend…………………….it IS possible folks!

  • MillaRed

    The last two years have been so long it seems like CWat has been here forever. And at times I think we asked too much of him.

    I think he has more potential than he showed last year. And should be able to do that with better players around him. I’m looking for CWat go from a good player to a 2nd team all-big ten performer.

  • Christian Watford needs to get tough. Really tough. If he does that and develops into a “killer” type player, he should be very good.

  • Anonymous

    Christian is easily one of the most talented players on IU’s roster. How much he does or doesn’t improve is going to be a huge key to this season. I am a big fan of Wat’s and can’t wait to see him suit up for us this year.

  • harrisism

    Both ends of the floor is the key

  • SuhrEric

    i would take a NCAA tourny bid over NIT champs even. Once we get to the tourny, there is no where to go but up.

  • SuhrEric

    Christian seems like he has matured a lot. That is what we have been lacking on this team. Leaders.

  • millzy32

    If I remember correctly Watford was a beast and dunking on people in the Boston College game last year and I was excited about his play and then well the rest of the season came and he became more of a guy that liked to hang out around the arc and heave 3’s and dribble a lot. 

    I want to see him attacking the rim because he can if he wants to do it.  I know he’s not the most athletic but he’s 6’9″ and has skills. 

    I hope what he says about Cody comes to fruition and his double teams open up the rest of the team for open jumpers. 

    Just give me a competitive fun team to watch this year that I can be proud to watch.  Maximum effort and this team could be half way decent. 

  • Anonymous

    Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I feel like this team is going to transform this year.  We are going to see things we haven’t in a long time, like winning streaks.

  • Devout Hoosier

    I’m really hopeful all of the changes translate into better defense on the court and not just in the head.  I’m tired of scoring 80+ and 90+ points just to lose the game.

  • MillaRed

    I was actually thinking about that this morning. Have we ever seen this guy go to the hole with authority and just ram it home? He has the ability.

    What I do remember is some off rebound putbacks that were getting swatted as a FR. CWat is only getting stronger so I expect a lot more of that. But would love to see him use that dribble when a PF is guarding him.

    Go to the hole!

  • I can’t take credit for all of them, but several were mine, so thanks.

  • Plane1972

    Not sure he had the handle or the speed to blow by guys – even PFs. He obviously received the most attention against opposing defenses last year, which I think indicates how strong a season he had. Should be even better this year. Looking forward to it.

  • Anonymous

    wat..please tell me you’ve learned to pull up with a jumper instead of getting stuffed at the basket. #2 Please please tell me that you’ve learned to pump fake when you are around the basket. Those two things will improve your scoring by a big margin!

  • Anonymous

    Yea well..for Wat and Jones its been dribble, drive, turn it over. Let’s hope we’ve got some other options. Now when Yogi gets there..the dribble drive and dish becomes a reality.

  • I agree we have the weapons now and also good passers – esp CZ.  I hope that CWat does go to the hole with assertion.  Add that to his outside game and he will be able to play at the next level. 

  • Anonymous

    Whether or not CZ can & will open things up for CW does not concern me near as much as improvement in his defense. He was the center of attention for the most part last year and got the points that he did so whatever changes come from CZ being on the floor and he will almost assuredly create at least some, should be icing on the cake this year. I can remember last year when coach would do the post game show and say , “yea Christian scored 24 but he gave up 30 on the other end and we just can’t do that ” and I totally agree.

    Maybe Dakich telling him he always looked like he was hurt the way he ran up and down the court struck a nerve with him and he has worked really hard on his conditioning. I really hope so cause if they run as much as some of them have said they think that they will he is going to have to get up and down the court faster than he did last year or he will find his up and down action will be for timeouts and big plays that his teammates make going up and down the floor.

    At any rate I look for him to have made strides in more than 1 area and is capable of being a very big part of this TEAM making strides.

  • Anonymous

    With another year of experience behind him and getting to play the wing more, I believe he will exhibit his talent on a more consistent basis. Conditioning seemed to be a problem at times last year. But then again, the kid took a beating.

  • MillaRed

    I just think it’s the strength Plane. If you have played a lot of ball you know that strong dribble either gets you to the hole or to the free throw line.

    It’s harder than people realize to get bulkier when these guys are so tall, thin and young. Hell I was 170 pounds until I was 30 regardless of what I did in the gym.

    Hopefully CWat has taken the strength to a new level. It will allow him to do things we haven’t seen before on the floor. 

  • Anonymous

    Are you talking about the same Christian Watford that has a significantly lower turnover rate than Jordan Hulls?

    For how often Wat handled the ball he turned it over very infrequently. Kenpom has Wat’s turnover rate as the 249th lowest in the nation. He was Indiana’s only player ranked in that category. He isn’t a perfect player but at least get your facts straight if you’re going to knock him.