That’s A Wrap: Christian Watford

  • 04/17/2013 8:38 am in

IUMSUITH0003

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Christian Watford.

Watford (36 games): 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 43.2% FG, 48.4% 3PFG, 81.1% FT in 27.9 minutes per game.

They said Christian Watford, for all his talent and scoring ability, despite the biggest shot in Indiana hoops in some time, was too inconsistent.

Watford would disappear when he was needed — missing shot after shot during Big Ten games. His effort waxed and waned like the moon.

But in his final season in the cream and crimson, Watford shed that reputation. It didn’t start that way. He had trouble fitting into the Hoosiers’ uptempo transition style. Against North Carolina in Bloomington — perhaps the most dominant, entertaining performance by Indiana all year — Watford decided to play outside the team construct and hunt for shots. He had a dunk that looked nice, but it would be the only shot he’d make all evening (1-of-9).

Play like this simply wasn’t going to fly.

Slowly, Watford found that conforming to the construct of IU’s efficient offense had its benefits. He wouldn’t be the one scoring at the rim in transition. He wouldn’t be the one bringing the ball up the court, either. But Watford’s trailer 3-pointer off the left wing was deadly. If we scratch Remy Abell’s 48.5 percent mark which came on just 33 attempts, Watford led the team in 3-point percentage (48.4 percent on 125 attempts). And for a team that made it a point to get to the line often, Watford would use his ability on the block to get the charity stripe (a team-high 81.1 percent mark) or score otherwise if the foul didn’t come. (Though, he wouldn’t always find success there. His shot fell 55 percent of the time at the rim, tied with Yogi Ferrell for worst among IU’s rotation players.)

As the Big Ten season rolled along, Watford’s numbers were a model of consistency. Not only did he score in double-digits in 17 of the 20 games, but he was strong on the boards as well, tallying eight or more rebounds on seven occasions.

Rebounding like that doesn’t come without consistent effort. Watford was finally bringing it game in and game out. He also hit one of the biggest shots of the season, a runner and-1 in the lane against Michigan State up in East Lansing that helped the Hoosiers win there for the first time in 22 years.

Senior Night came and Watford let the emotion and tears flow. Did you expect it from the laidback, often expressionless kid from the south? No. Did you love it after all he’d been through with his fellow senior brothers? Yes.

Watford would come up big for the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament as well. When things looked scary in the final minutes against Temple, it was Watford’s tremendous block that kickstarted the Hoosiers’ comeback.

Bottom Line: Watford’s four years in Bloomington were memorable. He led the team in scoring as a freshman. He hit the Watshot, a Phoenix rising from the ashes moment for the program and winner of play of the year at the ESPYs. Watford’s block against Temple was also a turning point in the round of 32, and helped bring the Hoosiers back to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

He may never reach a roster in the NBA. But a second round selection — or more likely, a stint on a Summer League team — isn’t out of the question. If nothing pans out in States, he figures to be able to continue his basketball career overseas for a professional squad.

Previously: Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Peter Jurkin, Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy Hollowell, Cody Zeller, Remy Abell, Will Sheehey, Victor Oladipo, Maurice Creek, Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls

Filed to:

  • He has all the skills and then some that D.J. White possessed, I think he just lacks confidence in his own shot.

  • CreanFaithful

    #WatShot, #WatSpot and the #WatBlock… all great moments that won’t soon be forgotten. He was asked to play out of his natural position for all four years. He put the team on his shoulders too many times to count. One of the smoothest 3 point bombers out there. Christian was/is one helleva Hoosier!

  • WATFORD FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kenny george

    wat, great job and thanks for your 4 years of effort and dedication. We will remember you always, just like Jordy and Derek. best of luck in the future. Be safe, Be happy.

  • MillaRed

    When I look back on CWat the first thing that comes to mind is his commitment from out of state when we were downright terrible. Cannot give him enough credit for that. He could have gone anywhere.

    He is the poster boy for what can be accomplished in the weight room. (mark and remember Jeremy Hollowell) He went from a FR/SO that got “CWatted” every time he went to the rim. As a senior he finished strong. Never really had the girth to be a post player but he was crafty down low at times.

    For the most part CWat had ice in his veins. He did not mind taking the shot in times of despair. Not everyone rises to that occasion but I can remember many.

    Inconsistencies aside, I think he was what he was. A very good role player and not the guy that was going to put the team on his back on a game to game basis. So glad he ht back to back Sweet 16s and enjoyed the glamor of being #1 most of the season. He deserved it.

  • xCowHoosier

    “The Shot” is obvious…when I think of CWat, second thing that immediately comes to mind is how he kept IU in the round of 32 game vs. VCU in 2012…he single handedly manhandled the game for a few minutes.

  • calbert40

    CWat is obviously more than just #WatShot, but 20 years from now, that is what we will remember…and fondly at that. Outside of the Smart shot in ’87, I don’t think there has ever been a more important shot made by an IU player. Ever.

    Still, he played in 132 games and was a starter from his first day on campus. He averaged 13.1 ppg, 6 rebs and was incredibly consistent (463 pts Soph year, 453 as a Jr, 443 as a Sr). And his 1730 career points puts him up with some pretty incredible company historically. He could have scored more, but he realized that his role changed once Cody came to town, and he seemed to embrace it.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Will always remember the shot and the fact that he committed to IU when it was out of fashion to do so. Having said that, I’ve always thought the team would be better off when he left. Far too inconsistent in terms of effort and a very average athlete. Lack of athleticism is what killed them in the tourney; hoping Vonleh, Williams, and Robinson will change that next year.

    Best of luck Christian.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Thanks for the memories! Some continue to knock his “inconsistent effort” and insist the team will be better off without him. I think that’s ludicrous but there’s no point arguing it. Here are some things Watford provided I think the team will miss next season:
    -His excellent free throw shooting.
    -Versatile defending (he occasionally defended a point guard and a PF in the same game, he wasn’t tremendous on D but he was solid and versatile).
    -Three point shooting, particularly as a trailer on fast breaks.
    -Clutch plays.

    Thanks Christian and good luck (wherever you end up drilling 3’s in the future).

  • BluegrassHoosier

    The Wat Shot, the Wat Swat, and the Wat Trot (the Wat solo run at the end of the VCU game that gave us life) are great memories I’ll never forget.

    Thanks for the memories Christian and good luck to you!

  • WisconHoosier

    I was always hoping he’d have a 30 point game against Penn State, so we could have the headline: “Christian beats Lions.”

  • MillaRed

    Not sure how often people think about this, but without that shot heard around the world IU would relinquish the status of “last unbeaten NCAA bball team.” Kentucky would not lose again that year.

  • Anne Jam

    4 years 4 years 4 years, you will always be loved by the Hoosier faithful

  • IUeconAlum

    When we absolutely needed him, he came through. Nobody can ever take away the WatShot. One of the best game winners in IU history.

  • iuoiu

    I think they lost to Vandy though in the SEC tournament.

  • New Guy

    Was Etherington skipped for some reason? Even Jurkin had a wrap up.

  • MillaRed

    They did actually. Something tells me that’s a W if they go there without a loss.

  • The Shot and now the Block are my two lasting memories of Watford. I think the inconsistency from years past partly came from adapting his playing style. He played more like a big this year, though his size and skill could have given us more of an advantage at the 3 instead of as a 4 (albeit a stretch 4).

  • iuoiu

    Yeah you are probably right – it would have given them something big to strive for. CWat says no record for you!

  • iuoiu

    Yes he did – no easy feat against a team like that. I’ve always said that while the win against UK that year was the most impactful for the program, that win against VCU was the most impressive. They had us on our heels and had Hulls in tears. But somehow we overcame that HORRIBLE matchup and won (remember VJIII was out, leaving Hulls to run point).

  • SCHoosier

    Credit Wat for choosing IU at a tough time when he could have gone other places. His reward was four good years and “owning” two of the biggest plays in IU b-ball lore. (The shot and the swat!) I hope he gets to realize his goal of playing in the NBA altho I doubt if he’ll be drafted. If he doesn’t make a team as a free agent..maybe Europe is the way to go. A couple of good years..and he get’s his shot. There’s also the NBA development league. Hope some option comes open for him. Thanks for the effort and memories WAT!

  • CWat is my favorite Hoosier!! He will be missed. Tell your bro to start working on that 3 and come on down to B-Town. There will always be a scholarship for a Watford. IMO

  • There’s a youtube video of Christian being interviewed while he was still in High School. He said his goal was to “put IU back on the map”.

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

  • Goody92

    Wat is in my two favorite Hoosiers of all time alongside DJ White. Wat was the key to bringing IU back with more than just the shot. One of his best moments was the MSU game in bloomington at the end of his junior season when dramon green was scoring at will on victor and wat came out in the 2nd half and shut dramon down as we knocked off another top 5 team. plus I will miss watching him drop the trailing three.

  • Great call out on comittment from CWat in from out of state as we were at the bottom. We were there live in person for the KY dagger, IU immorality for that! Also, right on with #33, I’ve called NBA all year on Hollowell.

  • IUMIKE1

    Your comment captured what CW was about very aptly. Up vote served.

  • IUMIKE1

    Your comment captured what CW was about very aptly. Up vote served.

  • On point Milla! I wouldn’t be shocked to see him make an NBA team. He has a great outside shot and is tall/long. Maybe the Knicks? Lakers? He’d fit great in either system.

  • On point Milla! I wouldn’t be shocked to see him make an NBA team. He has a great outside shot and is tall/long. Maybe the Knicks? Lakers? He’d fit great in either system.