Five-star class of 2019 forward Trendon Watford talks recruiting

  • 05/02/2017 9:16 am in

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Class of 2019 Mountain Brook (Ala.) forward Trendon Watford is back on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit this year with a new team.

After playing on the circuit last season with the Alabama Challenge, Watford, the younger brother of former IU forward Christian Watford, is suiting up this spring and summer with Nike Team Florida.

Through the first two EYBL sessions, Nike Team Florida is 4-4 and has some work to do to solidify a spot in July’s EYBL finals at the Peach Jam.

“This is only our second event playing with each other,” Watford said on Saturday following a narrow loss to Expressions Elite. “I feel like we’re going to gel together and go from there.”

As a sophomore at Mountain Brook, Watford was the runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Alabama. In eight EYBL games this spring, he’s averaging 11.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

At 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, Watford is a versatile forward who can take smaller opponents inside and also handle the ball and shoot from the outside. The 247Composite ranks him as the No. 12 player overall in the 2019 class and a five-star prospect.

Indiana, which Watford said was not previously involved in his recruitment, reached out following the coaching change in March.

“They reached out to my brother about me a couple of weeks ago,” Watford explained. “When Archie Miller first got hired.”

Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo were both at the EYBL on Saturday evening at the Grand Fieldhouse watching Watford and Nike Team Florida. Oladipo played for Team Takeover, another EYBL program.

If the Hoosiers are going to become a serious player in his recruitment, there’s ground to make up.

Alabama has been involved with Watford for several years and is the school the family grew up following. Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina were the other four schools he mentioned on Saturday.

“We’re just enjoying it right now,” Watford said of his recruitment. “We’re just trying to see which school is going to be the best fit for me.”

The Crimson Tide have a strong recruiting class coming in next season, headlined by Alabama Mr. Basketball John Petty and five-star guard Collin Sexton. Their coaching staff is making Watford a clear priority in 2019.

“They were the first school to recruit me, basically,” Watford said. “If I’m ready to commit right now, I can. Coach Avery (Johnson) and coach (Antoine) Pettway, they’re always on me.”

Per NCAA rules, schools can’t reach out directly to class of 2019 prospects until June 15.

“I haven’t cut a list yet. I’m just enjoying the process right now,” he said. “I’m open to any school that wants to recruit me. Just seeing how I can come in and impact a school, that’s the biggest thing. Just seeing how I can affect a program and which school can help get me to the next level.”

Filed to:

  • Zora Clevenger

    Does anyone have any idea why Crean didn’t reach out to this kid? It seems like such a no-brainer to recruit him, I have to believe that there’s some back story.

  • HoosierHeel

    It really baffles me that Coach Crean didn’t go all out after this young man. I am glad Archie is recruiting him though! Let’s hope we get a chance at another “Wat-Shot!”

  • N71

    Man, recruiting is such a long process, seems like its getting longer and longer. From what I’ve read here in the past couple of weeks these kids are forming strong opinions 4, 5, 6 years before college which has got to make coaching changes really difficult. Trendon’s default would appear to be Alabama for sure. Unless he has quietly wanted to go to Indiana all along turning that worm will surely be difficult. I suppose that’s part of why our staff and other topflight programs get paid the salaries they do, its a tough job.

  • Arch Puddington

    I have no insight, but this isn’t the only recruit who has made comments like this. And given the overall direction of recruiting over the last 3-4 years, it is not unreasonable to conclude that something was just not right with CTC’s efforts. He wasn’t pursuing some of Indiana’s better players — or wasn’t pursuing them consistently and with conviction — and wasn’t pursuing the younger brother of one of the most prominent players of his time at IU. Not only inexcplicable, but inexcusable.

  • inLinE6

    I don’t believe there’s any back story behind it. Crean wasn’t actively recruiting class of 2019 before the season tipped. To be fair, he didn’t offer any 2019 recruit, not just Trendon. I don’t believe there’s any issue between Crean and the family. In fact, if you have followed Christian, you can scroll back his tweets to the day Crean was fired. He was shocked and expressed his disappointment about that decision (for comparison, not another former Hoosier spoke up in the same way he did). That proves his close relationship with Crean. Crean has been criticized for throwing early offers in the past, and after failing to land Trey Lyles, he no longer does that. Were he still coaching this team, I’m sure he’d be recruiting 2019 right now, and Trendon would certainly be recruited.

  • iugradmark

    It is truly baffling. I realize you can’t be everywhere but it almost seems like we never even made a contact with a kid that we should have had an advantage. I’m not saying he wants to follow his brother to IU but you have to make the effort.

  • iugradmark

    I think the surprise isn’t that we just didn’t make an offer but the comment that we weren’t involved at all in his recruitment. To me that means no contacts, no scouting visits, nothing. Very odd.

  • iubase

    Show him the clip of his brother and get him into assembly hall….Archie has a shot – a long shot just like CWat’s

  • BannerOrBust

    I said the same thing in a previous post, and got called out for mentioning Creans name… Some people have the green-light to speak however and whatever they want and ppl don’t say a word. However, other people post on here and they have trolls following them ready to pounce…

  • BannerOrBust

    Then I like our chances… ‘Watford for the win”….. SWISH

  • John D Murphy

    I saw the screen show “one person typing”…and I thought “I bet it is BannerOrBust”.

  • John D Murphy

    I think we’re going to get him. I think 2019 is going to be Archie’s first Top 3 class and Trendon will be part of it.

  • BannerOrBust

    haha… I had to say something.

  • IUintheD

    Does it have anything to do with shoe companies??? Just asking…

  • IUintheD

    I believe Trendon was there for that shot wasn’t he??

  • BannerOrBust

    At the end of the day, I could almost guarantee you that an offer from Indiana was like a dream come true from this kid. Even if Alabama is the heavy-favorite. Watfords family came to almost every home game, and I’m sure he has tons of great memories being in Bloomington. I would say Indiana has to be in his top 3 programs, In my opinion, let’s hope archie stays on his tracks.

  • BannerOrBust

    God I hope so

  • BannerOrBust

    Christian did win an ESPY for best play of the year in 2012

  • Kyl470

    Certain things just upset people. I know people don’t like it when I say I don’t think OG will make it in the pros. I hope he does. I hope he becomes the next Kawhi Leonard. Unfortunately my gut says he is more likely to be the next Darious Miles. That being said I still think it was the right decision for him to go pro. Any player that is going to be drafted in the first round I think should go pro and OG will go in the first round. I just wouldn’t take him if I were a GM.

  • HoosierHeel

    This is very true. I think maybe because you mentioned “perspective” on Crean or something along those lines it rubbed some people wrong. However, I did not read your post in that light. Tom Crean is a great man, and showed incredible grace after being fired. I think this had led some to be extra sensitive to any perceived negative comments regarding Crean or his tenure. I met Coach Crean and got a picture with him my first week on campus at IU, and I had very mixed emotions about his firing. Regardless, I think think it is fair to question Tom Crean for not going after Trendon, especially considering the seemingly strong bond he had with Christian. It’s not a slight toward him, it’s just perplexing.

  • Kyl470

    Does anyone know if CTC and Christian maintained a good relationship? I know Christian never made it to the NBA do you think he has hard feelings about CTC because of that? BTW these are all just guesses on my part trying to understand why he wouldn’t recruit his brother.

  • BannerOrBust

    Thanks for that. I guess I should choose my words more wisely so people don’t read into them in certain ways not intended. Also, I was probably the biggest Tom Crean supporter there was. I really liked Tom, and I hope nothing but the best for him.

  • N71

    John D Murphy for president.

  • BannerOrBust

    I honestly don’t blame OG for leaving, if he’s a mid first rounder than get that guaranteed cash… play in the NBA / D-league, and he can always finish his degree at Indiana whenever he wishes. I personally don’t see him making it in the NBA either. He is a good defender and very athletic, however I don’t see him taking someone to the rack like Troy Williams or Yogi Ferrell. If he can develop better ball-handling and attack-mode offense, then he has a shot.

  • HoosierHeel

    It was a Saturday, and he came for most weekend games. I remembering seeing him in the crowd a couple times and commenting to my buddies how he had to be Christian’s brother.

  • Kyl470

    Agreed. Get that money. Let’s just say he doesn’t recover well from his injury and he comes back to college and scouts determine he has lost some athleticism. That would kill his draft stock. Go now why the NBA will still take a chance on you.

    I think his best chance to make it in the NBA is to try and be like Shane Battier. Just play defense and shoot open shots or pass right away. Don’t try to dribble. I remember some crazy stat on Battier that said his average time with the ball in his hands per touch was less than a second. So basically he was catch and pass or catch and shoot, but never dribble.

  • VOXAC30

    Show him his ESPY award!

  • BannerOrBust

    I really like that analogy. Shane ended up having a very long NBA career, and is sitting pretty good right now financially I would assume.

  • BratziBro

    I know CWAT was behind the bench at the Louisville game on New Years Eve

  • inLinE6

    Top 3, yes, but I’m not so sure about anything else yet. Many times the younger ones just want to carve out something on their own. In Bloomington, he’ll always be recognized as Christian’s younger brother.

  • inLinE6

    His mom was there, so I assume he was there too.

  • BannerOrBust

    Good Point.

  • pcantidote

    I have a framed picture of the shot in my office. Trendon is in the picture. His face is hilarious. You can tell he was into the moment. His eyes are probably as wide as they’ve ever been.

  • Outoftheloop

    Go hard after Trendon Archie! He is a great player from a great family with real Hoosier ties!

  • Indiana_Banners

    Get over yourself. Feel free to disagree with the sentiment I expressed in the other thread but I didn’t call you any names and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t refer to me as a troll because I go about things a little differently.

  • Thomas the Train

    Yes, he was. I remember the photo. He was in direct line from the shot itself. Under the basket in a Watford Indiana jersey.

  • Hoosier4life23

    CTC was too worried about getting a tan than showing recruits some love. Smh on why he never made attempt to pursue this kid knowing he already had his brother. Maybe he thought that he was a given knowing he had his brother already. Nothing is given in recruiting he should’ve knew that when he lost Lyles to UK.

  • Ole Man

    I don’t know. Sounds like he’s very much his own man.
    IU might not even make the cut down.
    More fallout from the former coach!

  • HoosierDom

    I don’t know about that. If Christian was the 5 start recruit destined for the NBA and this kid was a mere 4 star looking to be a multi-year starter then I could see the argument. But, Trendon is on the fast track to the NBA and his brother never made it there. I don’t think he should be too worried about being stuck in his brother’s shadow – he is the star of the family. Or, at least he is poised to be.

  • SeeingRed

    Seems like the wheels should have been getting greased all along with Trendon — a super early offer wasn’t obligatory but a high level of interest and attention should have been. For sure.

  • todd

    Just imagine for a moment how our recruiting landscape changes in the coming years…Factor the upcoming coaching retirements at Duke & NC (whenever they may happen), as well as a winning program along with a succession of NBA matriculation and IU becomes a contender for just about any recruit on the circuit. No doubt though it is important to keep attracting Indiana’s home grown talent. Maybe the biggest recruiting statement will be made should Romeo decide to take his talents to Bloomington. However, I am not a huge proponent of disproportionately putting valuable resources into one and done’s at the expense of solid 4 year contributory talent.

  • 5 Banner Btown

    Pretty sure they still maintained a good relationship. After CTC was fired, Watford went to twitter n expressed his displeasure with IU letting CTC go.

  • hgdownunder

    There will have been quite a long time between the two Watfords if he came, so he is perfectly capable of carving out something of his own, or topping his brother’s, for that matter.