Watford becomes fifth from 2012-2013 team to sign professional contract

  • 08/01/2013 10:17 am in

IUMSUITH0003

Indiana’s 2012-2013 Big Ten championship team has a fifth player in professional basketball as Christian Watford signed with Hapoel Eliat in Israel on Wednesday.

Watford joins Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Bobcats), Jordan Hulls (Slupsk Energa Czarni/Polish Basketball League) and Derek Elston (Floriana Francesco Fenech Greens/Maltese Powerade League) as the latest Indiana player to ink a professional deal.

Watford, who was not picked in June’s NBA Draft, played for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Summer League and the Dallas Mavericks in the Vegas Summer League, opted to head overseas for a guaranteed contract rather than trying to catch on in the NBA via the Developmental League.

“I had four or five offers from different places in Hungary, Russia Germany but I felt this was the right fit for me,” Watford told IUHoosiers.com. “What really persuaded me to go to Eilat was the great feedback I got from Americans who had played on that team.”

As a senior at Indiana, Watford averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and shot 48.4 percent from 3-point range.

He finished his career in Bloomington in the No. 9 spot on the all-time scoring list.

“My goals are simply to get better as a player and help my team win a championship,” Watford said. “I got some good feedback after the experience in the NBA summer league on what I was doing. I’ve got to get better at creating space and being more complete.”

Watford will leave for Israel on August 24.

Hapoel Eliat offered the following on Watford’s signing via the team’s official web site: “Christian is a very talented player, his collaboration with Haynes Gates under the basket will be important to us. Eilat is an excellent stop for his career.”

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  • weasel

    I have a good friend who played at UMass and then in Israel, and he really enjoyed it. Never went pro in the states, but Israeli’s love their bball.

  • plane1972

    Not to sound nosey about his financial matters, but I’m curious how a guy like CWat makes in a league like this.

  • Gerald

    Eilat is awesome.Cancun of the middle east. Shocking how high level the ball is in israel considering the size of the country. The tel-aviv and haifa clubs regularly send squads to the euroleague championships.

  • IUMIKE1

    Good for CWat. Hope he gets everything he wants out this experience. I was critical of him at times during his playing days at IU but in the end he was and always will be a Hoosier and I am just as happy, if not more, than most pUKe fans are unhappy, that he is / was. That one shot cemented him into IU bball lore but he meant more than that one shot to IU bball and came to IU before it was cool to do so.

    Good Luck Christian, hope everything goes well for you.

  • Katie M.

    I know a guy who went to Bloomington South and then jumped around various smaller programs for college. He wound up in Germany pulling down $20,000 a month. Not too shabby for the European league. I know some Euro teams will even give their players apartments to live in.

  • good work Christian

    will we be able to see any of the games?

  • unclekerfuffle

    Shalom and good luck, CWat.

  • semohoosier

    I think that officially makes that the shot heard around the world.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Good question. There’s surprisingly little info about it on the web. Best references I found weren’t specific, but still gave general ideas:

    http://projects.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/sports/25247133-41/israel-dunigan-team-basketball-nba.csp

    “While one Internet site listed the average basketball salaries in Israel as averaging from $2,500 to $5,000 per month, Americans are usually paid more.

    Jeremy Tyler signed a contract with a team in Israel last year for an annual salary of $140,000, giving up his senior year of high school in San Diego to play professionally.”

    To bolster Katie M’s post: http://www.mhbasket.co.il/news.asp?id=1271&lang=en#.Ufuo_JK1El4

    While many of these players aren’t making six figure salaries, they are being provided by their respective teams a monthly salary, car, apartment, and phone.

    From a Tar Heel’s site:

    An overseas career can be quite lucrative. Research has shown that the average salary of an overseas basketball player ranges from $1,500 per month for a fifth division player to $20,000 per month for a first division player. The highest paid basketball players are properly trained and prepared for the European style of basketball play. Some highly valued basketball players in Europe can earn up to $50,000 per month.

    No one’s imagining NBA level money. And at the low end, it’s pretty mundane. At the high end, though, it isn’t bad at all, more than most folks would make at all but the highest end jobs.

    The only question is, where would CWat rate? Top tier? Slightly lower? I honestly don’t know; *I’d* rate him top tier, but I’m a little biased.

  • Paul McNutt

    That makes two former Hoosiers on Eilat. Holman + Watford in the frontcourt…nice!

  • ThaSnowman

    I think he would have been a great 2nd round pick for a team that needed his type of skill set. I really believe that a lot of teams missed out on not picking him up! I wish him the best. Maybe he can go blow it open overseas then come back after proving himself. Goodluck Wat! You’re one of my favorite Hoosiers man, and you will NEVER be forgotten. The Shot, and all that you did to bring IU back to where they belong. You’re forever in the IU history books my friend!

  • ThaSnowman

    Ya, might not be 5 mil a year, but 20,000 a month is better than I’m doing lol. Lots of moola to play a game that ya love. In all actuality I think that’s about what most pros should make…. oh well.