Class of 2019 forward Trendon Watford discusses IU offer

  • 06/02/2017 3:17 pm in

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Five-star class of 2019 small forward Trendon Watford now has a ‘Wat Shot’ to call his own.

The 6-foot-8 Watford’s Nike Team Florida squad entered session four of the Nike EYBL circuit with a 5-7 record. To qualify for Peach Jam, NTF would likely have to go 3-1 in session four.

On Saturday morning, NTF appeared to be on the ropes, down 67-65 to Team Melo with less than two seconds remaining.

Enter Trendon Watford.

Prior to the final seconds, Watford had scored just four points in the game on 1-for-5 shooting. He had sat for most of the second half, but when his name was called, he delivered.

“(I knew it was in) before I even shot it,” Watford said. “I was calling it when we called the play. I just knew it. I was going to come off the bench and hit it.”

“I guess it just runs in the blood,” said Trendon’s older brother Christian, who famously hit a buzzer-beater against No. 1 Kentucky in 2011.

It wasn’t his first buzzer-beater, as Trendon said he has also made one in high school and while playing at the u16 level, but it was perhaps the biggest.

The thrilling victory helped propel NTF to a 3-1 record over the session, allowing the team to finish the regular season with an 8-8 record and earn an at-large spot in Peach Jam.

Playing a year up, Watford ended the regular season with averages of 13.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks on 50 percent shooting.

The Birmingham, Alabama native reached double-figures scoring in all but three games and accumulated double-doubles in each of the final two games, grabbing 14 rebounds against Portland BC and 10 against Seattle Rotary.

Still a sophomore in high school, Watford has been receiving interest from some of the biggest schools in college basketball.

The schools Watford said are most interested in his talents are Alabama, Indiana, Auburn, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arizona and North Carolina.

“It was big,” Watford said of receiving an offer from Indiana on May 18. “I basically grew up there, it was like my second home. I know Bloomington like the back of my hand.”

Schools are not allowed to be in direct contact with class of 2019 recruits until June 15, but Watford said Indiana has been in contact with his brother and his dad over the past few weeks.

Indiana was not involved in Watford’s recruitment when Tom Crean was at the head of the program, which his brother Christian said was not a surprise.

“He was a young kid so I didn’t expect him to get an offer,” Christian said. “There’s no point in offering a kid in 7th, 8th, 9th grade. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on between that time. I wasn’t surprised by it.”

Watford doesn’t have a timeline yet but expects to possibly cut his list late in his junior year.

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  • sarge

    Come back home for college TW! We want you and we need you. I saw you at the UK game when bro hit that dagger. Now come get your own legacy and memories in candy stripes. You know B-Town has your back!

  • inLinE6

    We need Trendon and Brooks together for 2019.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Love him. Buckets Watford!!!!!! BTW, the NBA is looking into ways to eliminate the one and done system. That would be interesting if it happens.

  • AndyCapp

    Kentucky would be SERIOUSLY hurt by this change… bring it on!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    AC! I was hoping someone would state that. I think it would help IU immensely. I’ll take Archie Miller as a coach over Calipari,,,,anyday.

  • AndyCapp

    Common sense says that this class might be the first one where Coach isn’t behind the 8-ball in terms of relationship recruiting and will begin to make IUBB his own. I think that he will land at least one MAJOR gem from the class of ’18, and maybe two, but class of 2019 will be defining for Coach and for our team. Let’s start by reeling Trendon in!

  • Arch Puddington

    I saw Sterling’s comments, and was encouraged. He said no one is happy right now, including the NBA teams who are getting too many players without the level of development they would like. I’ve long thought the NCAA could solve this all on its own by simply doing the same thing baseball does — if you accept an NCAA scholarship, you have to commit to a certain number of years (3 would be my choice). Yes, some players would choose to go overseas or simply sit out a year and wait to be drafted, but so what? They would not be missed, because they would never be a factor in college basketball. Look at the ten players who started the All-Star game this year. Two never went to college at all (Lebron James, Giannis Antetokoumpo), and only four (Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant) had any real prominence in the NCAA. The others either went to small schools or simply did not make a big splash at the collegiate level.

    My point: the NCAA is its own world, and develops its own stars. Let the can’t-miss types get drafted straight out of high school, make the others stick around long enough to a) contribute to their college programs for a meaningful period of time, and b) develop into the best players they can be for the NBA or other professional leagues.

  • John D Murphy

    It is MLB that does this, not NCAA. The NCAA can’t prohibit someone from being drafted by MLB. It would have to be in the CBA as it is in the NFL’s CBA, MLB’s CBA and NBA’s CBA. The point is that the NCAA can’t do anything about it “all on its own”.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Nice Arch! And,,,the NCAA will make more money. But of course they always do. They better step up their rules on academics (grades,attendance ) if this happens. I don’t trust the NCAA to do th

  • VOXAC30

    Say what you, will but to me, Trendon Watford is my fav! I love the in state guys especially KB don’t get me wrong KB would be a game changer. The thing I most like about Trendon is how his brother represented IU and of course the Wat-Shot. I know call me crazy and a romantic but its is the beauty of basketball.

  • John D Murphy

    I’ll take Archie too, but let’s not pretend that Cal can’t coach and develop players. It’s currently difficult to evaluate his player development as so few good players stay. I think it is pretty scary what he did with having Willie Cauley-Stein for three years.

  • John D Murphy

    Read my comment below. The NCAA is powerless to act on its own.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Your right on that. College players will have to stay in school for 2 years if the NBA changes the rule. Otherwise where else would they go? I doubt overseas or CBS would be a legitimate option.

  • Arch Puddington

    Sure they can. Scholarships are legal agreements in which both parties are held to specified terms. Collges aren’t required to offer scholarships at all, and if they do they are free to make them subject to whatever terms they want — academic performance, personal conduct, whatever. There may be limits as to what kind of penalty they can impose, but they are free to offer them on whatever terms they see fit.

  • Arch Puddington

    It depends on what the alternative plan is. If players are forced by one means or another to stick around more than one year, Kentucky may benefit more than anyone. If Calipari could continue to bring in recruiting classes filled with 5 star players, two or more years of development might make them unbeatable. Think about the 2015 team that went 38-0 before losing to Wisconsin. How’d you like that group back in 2016?

  • While you might be correct, I think it would cause nothing but problems if this were a college-led system. First, let’s clarify that it’s not the NCAA that enforces these rules, it’s the schools according to whatever their agreement is with the NCAA. Second, it’s one thing for a school to take back a scholarship because of something like academic performance, and another thing to impose some kind of penalty after a kid leaves the school. I suppose you could write a contract that said a kid needed to pay back scholarship money or something, but imagine trying to enforce that. Not the greatest optics, a college chasing after a kid because he left early for the NBA.

    It would be much better for the NBA to simply change its rules for how it takes in players.

  • I think whatever system develops would allow for some players to skip college entirely. Maybe the NBA would hold tryouts of some kind, and if a kid wasn’t “drafted” during that process then he would need to go to an NCAA collegiate program for some specific amount of time to develop. In that case, then those pure one-and-done players would simply skip college entirely and UK would lose some of its prestige in terms of “developing” these players for the NBA in their one year there. I think it would be a net loss for UK, because then Calipari would need to actually demonstrate his ability to develop players over the long term (just like other programs do). Is that his skillset? We’d see, I suppose.

  • I think at worst it would level the playing field. As I mentioned above, perhaps those pure one-and-done players would skip college entirely, and in that case UK wouldn’t get some of its talents. Now, maybe Calipari is actually so great a player developer that he’d benefit. I mean, the current system isn’t actually winning UK many championships. But at least everyone would be playing by the same rules.

    Note that it would be harder to hide any shenanigans with regard to academics and players actually going to real classes, although of course judging by UNC that’s not something the NCAA is all that hot to go after.

  • John D Murphy

    You are wrong. The only way it would be enforceable is as a “non-compete” agreement. You can’t have non-competes with people you deny are employees. Any lawyer would be able to argue that the players would be caused uncompensated harm. The only thing the NCAA can and does control is the eligibility to play.

  • TomJameson

    Well, it won’t happen unless the NBA wants it to. They are the driver for the change.

  • John D Murphy

    That is great way to say it: “level the playing field”. You are correct.

  • John D Murphy

    They almost had a pretty high salary increase in for the NBADL but it got yanked at the last minute. That would have provided a real alternative to college. Overseas don’t want undeveloped 18 year olds playing in their top leagues. They have their own feeder systems and very few of the 18 year olds could get on the floor in the top euro leagues. There is no point in spending time developing someone that won’t contribute and will be gone. That’s why they won’t sign one year deals. They can enforce the contract provisions of multi year deals because the players are employees (unlike college players).

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Of course. Take care Tom.

  • TomJameson

    You too. Have a great weekend.

  • Justin Beard

    Gotta feeling that this won’t be his last buzzer beater. Let’s getem

  • Arch Puddington

    “I suppose you could write a contract that said a kid needed to pay back scholarship money or something, but imagine trying to enforce that. Not the greatest optics, a college chasing after a kid because he left early for the NBA.”

    This is what I meant when I said that it could be tough to enforce. And there is no doubt that the best solution can only come from the NBA. But the NCAA could, if it wanted, impose terms on its scholarships. It doesn’t want to, so this is just as much a pipe dream as the notion of players getting paid (which I am also in favor of). Just my way of venting frustration with the current system, which has been bad for my favorite sport.

  • MrNobody

    UCLA can have the Ball’s. Give me some Watford n Blackmon bros.

  • NC Hoosier

    My biggest fear is TW goes to Kentucky and then hits his own “Wat Shot” in Rupp to beat IU. Don’t know that I would ever recover from that.

  • VOXAC30

    That is just evil… Alex can we ban NC Hoosier for life for even thinking that thought? * JK NC Hoosier you have a twisted mind and now I am worried about it lol!

  • NC Hoosier

    Kind of hard for me not to have horribly negative thoughts being that I have the unfortunate situation of having married into a UK family even though I don’t even live anywhere near Lexington. Father-in-law is unbearable and runs his mouth non-stop, even though he can never even name their starting five.

  • VOXAC30

    Wow tough gig! I’m in a similar situation and my sister-in-law is the same way. She is an Xavier grad and she is from Northern Kentucky so she is a UK fan. She always talks about Indiana kids going to Xavier and how great UK is. So frustrating!

  • AndyCapp

    I clearly see your point but I think UK’s main draw now is that players are recruited almost under a philosophy of one-and-done. If they no longer have that as their carrot I believe it will begin to dilute their brand as the premier NBA breeding ground and recruits will consider going to other programs. That’s my hope anyway:)

  • IUMIKE1

    Nothing new about that, pUKe probably has the highest percentage of ” fans ” that can’t name more than one or two players on the whole team, let alone the starting five. Kinda like when it’s football season, they are big fans of pUKe football….as long as they are winning, but otherwise you get the, ” I don’t follow football, just bball “, quote. Nauseating

  • unclekerfuffle

    Also, if you assume there is a small, finite number of true “one-and-done” players each year, a pUKe or Duke would have fewer open slots and the talent would be spread out, in theory

  • marcusgresham

    What you’re proposing would require punishing a school because a kid chose to leave early. That can’t fly.

  • marcusgresham

    Or worse yet, they root for the “Cayuts” in basketball but they’re Alabama football fans.

  • AndyCapp

    Excellent point… upvote!

  • AndyCapp

    Hey Mark, why do you write that the NBA would/might allow for some players to skip college entirely? Is that your thought or actually a part of a proposal that you have seen? Either way, I really doubt that the NCAA would go along with any part of that. They hold a lot of sway with advertisers as well as the NFL/NBA/MLB CBA’s and I suspect the main reason a change is being contemplated by the NBA is because, primarily, this is what the NCAA wants.

    Re: UK, I think you are absolutely correct that a change in rules would affect them, probably more than most IMO. Uncle noted above, given the finite number of players with pure one-and-done talent, a rule like this might begin to limit the number of open scholly slots available to the likes of KY and Duke which would cause the players to evaluate other college options.

    This would also be good for every program because, other than graduation or unforeseen transfers, college coaches can expect a stabilization of their recruiting numbers.

  • First, all my own thoughts. Second, there are kids who skip college, aren’t there? They just need to be 19, right? There used to be more kids who would go straight to the NBA before the new rule was put in place.

    I’m saying, I would prefer that a kid who doesn’t want to go to college and has the skills for the NBA just skip college completely. Whether the NCAA holds sway here is something I don’t know — did the NBA impose the 19-years-old rule, which created today’s one-and-done program, or was that driven by the NCAA?

    The reality is that not every kid wants to go to college, or should. That’s as true for non-athletes as it is for athletes. And I think that the affect of one-and-dones has been shown to be a negative — many of them don’t care about college and so they’re just biding their time and that’s no fun. They cause scandals because to get them, I think sometimes schools have to relax their academic standards.

    Just riffing here, but part of the problem is that many “one-and-dones” really aren’t ready to go into the NBA after a single year in college. And that’s why there’s pressure to require them to spend more time in a college program to gain even more maturity and polish before moving on.

    It’s kind of a mess, really. Just tossing out ideas here, I really have no idea what a good solution would be.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I did a little research on Coach Cal before and after the one and done rule (2005 was the last year a player was drafted from HS).

    Before:
    13 seasons
    308 wins, 126 losses (71%)

    After:
    12 seasons
    386 wins, 67 losses (85%)

    Coach Cal has been the single biggest benefactor of the mandatory 19 year old rule. If they go back to the old prep to pro method, look for Cal to take an NBA contract and ride out his retirement.

  • This isn’t at just one school though, right? When did he start at UK? Unless the presumption is he would have been able to accomplish the same things at any school using the same strategy (assuming he would have been able to get away with whatever UK lets him get away with, if anything).

    Interesting stat, though, thanks.

  • Hoosier Hall

    The first 13 seasons is 8 years at Umass and 5 seasons at Memphis. The last 12 are 4 seasons at Memphis and 8 at UK. Look on sports reference…. You can see the sharp increase in wins per year in 05-06.