Q & A: Trendon Watford and his father, Ernest, recap IU visit

  • 09/17/2017 2:21 pm in

Class of 2019 Mountain Brook (Ala.) forward Trendon Watford was in Bloomington this weekend for an unofficial visit to Indiana. Watford, a five-star prospect nationally, was on campus for the Hoosier Volleyball Classic as his older sister, Elise, is an outside hitter for Samford University.

The entire Watford family – Ernest, Belinda, Christian, Elise and Trendon – had a chance to return to a campus where they spent a lot of time from 2009 through 2013.

Inside the Hall spoke in-depth with both Ernest and Trendon on Sunday afternoon after they returned home to Birmingham. Our full Q & A follows:

On how the trip this weekend came about:

Ernest Watford: “Elise played in the Hoosier Classic Volleyball, they played Indiana, UNLV and Florida Gulf Coast. Those three and Samford were the four teams in the tournament.”

On what it was like to be back in Bloomington as a family:

Ernest Watford: “It brought back the passion from the four years that we were there. Just seeing it and knowing that we built something there as a team. It’s really moving forward. Super impressed with the new staff and coach Archie Miller. They seem like some great guys with some opportunities and vision to have the program continue trend upward and forward. Obviously getting a chance to see the new Assembly Hall, we had never seen it before. That is something special with the way they designed that.”

On what stood out most about the Assembly Hall renovations:

Ernest Watford: “The south end where you walk in and now you’ve got escalators and all of the new modern features. And then you walk inside the gym and all of the new seating and the new scoreboard. That’s the biggest thing that stands out.”

On the adjustment getting to know a new coaching staff and what stands out about the new staff:

Ernest Watford: “He (Archie) was so laid back. He talked precisely about how he plays, the style of play and what kind of condition he wants his players to be in and the approach and philosophy of the game as well as his approach and philosophy of how to move IU forward. That stood out. It appeared that the whole staff was laid back as far as taking on his demeanor. He’s a great communicator and really talked a lot about Trendon and where he thought he’d fit in and how he thought he could coach him. It was something special for sure to go and get to know him. Just to have time and spend the two days talking with him and getting his insight on things. What was most impressive is his approach in trying to make sure that the former players – because Christian was there and Yogi (Ferrell) was there – that the former players have the access to everything they had when they were players. The family feel that he wants it to be was impressive to us. We’re all about family, as you know.”

On what Trendon learned on the visit and how Ernest councils him on what to look for and questions to ask:

Ernest Watford: “We always try to look and see, from a head coach’s standpoint, the approach and his philosophy and how he incorporates his team and develops his team. We’re looking for the right fit and style of play because of Trendon’s versatility. We look to hear that from the head coach and we look to see any film and anything he’s got of former teams that he’s had and their style of play. It’s more so that (with IU) because we already know what kind of school it is as far as the fanbase, the academics there. We know what kind of alumni base is there because we were there for four years and Christian finished there. It was a little easier with this visit because we know the school. We just didn’t know the staff. The main thing we tell Trendon is: almost everybody is going to proposition you the same way in terms of what they think they can do to move your game further, to move you along to what your dreams are. Obviously, just have an open mind to listen and pay close attention to the staff and what they say. Every kid wants to go in and go to a Final Four, win a championship. That’s big for us. It’s important to have good pieces on your team. The coach is biggest thing we look for in the grand scheme of things.”

On IU’s aggressiveness in recruiting Trendon since the coaching change:

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Filed to:

  • I rarely bring up Crean here, except when it’s relevant to a particular context. I was also one of the stronger Crean supporters up until the end — I gave him many benefits of the doubt, until I just couldn’t do it any longer. This story, however, mentioned Crean by name — why wouldn’t that be relevant for discussion?

  • SCHoosier

    If you can only get one..who do you want..Watford or Brooks?

  • bball at nick’s

    I was very impressed by Keion’s father.

  • Geoff_85

    Because he’s gone. What are we going to accomplish by talking about Tom freakin’ Crean? Pointing out what he could’ve done but didn’t do is about the most asinine discussion we could have here. That said, if you choose to talk about it, you should expect an opposing viewpoint. It’s a hot button issue because people can’t seem to leave it the hell alone. I’m not saying that you’re perpetually guilty of that by any means. I’m just saying the majority of us just don’t care to read about it.

  • I have no issue with opposing viewpoints. I run into them all the time, and 99 times out of 100 I just ignore them and move on. I rarely feel the need to chastise someone for posting an opinion that I don’t share. But that’s just me.

    A the same time, I simply disagree that it’s irrelevant to discuss the impact of a coach who left the program six months ago on the current recruiting process, and again, I didn’t bring it up — Trendon’s father did. And that makes it particularly relevant. It’s entirely possible that if Archie weren’t as good as he apparently is at recruiting, that we’d be entirely out of the running for this great player with such awesome IU ties. And what a shame that would be.

  • N71

    I think they’re 2 different players, Brooks an elite 6’7″ 180 pound athlete, Watford a 6’8″ 224 banger in the making. Brooks has come up through Indiana’s grassroots system meaning he knows the game well. Watford we know the story. Watford is ranked higher currently but I think Brooks is really important because if he signs with us he’s not at MSU causing us problems.

  • I think I’d opt for Brooks, but only because he would represent IU locking in the best Indiana players as well as getting foothold in the northern part of the state. That’s tough to say because Trendon looks like a great player and he has his own important ties to the program.

  • Yes, great point about MSU. It’s time we stop Izzo from poaching the state.

  • Geoff_85

    I get what you’re saying in regard to relevancy to topic, but you’re missing my point. There is nothing to accomplish by discussing what the coach did six months ago, or six years ago. Also, if you blame something on a guy that some people loved (that would not be me btw, I wanted him gone before the end of last season), they are going to defend him. That’s life. Frankly, I don’t really disagree with you, but I hate even talking about it because we have so many actual great things to talk about in this recruitment alone, like the fact that Trendon and Christian are posting pics in IU gear together, or that his dad seems to really like Archie, or that Trendon clearly has a soft spot for IU given the amount of time he spent here while Christian played here, or that Christian gets to actually have some input here, or that Trendon really loves the new Assembly Hall, the list goes on, yet here we are, talking about Tom Crean. But I’ve wasted enough of my time talking about it. This is why I’m not on the forum anymore, and this just makes me glad I’m not. It’s probably still a Tom Crean bitch-fest in there. Anyway, fun discussion. I’ll probably not even post here on the main site until Hoosier Hysteria. I’m sure I’ll end up reading about Tom Crean again then as well lmao.

  • Ivan Renko

    When all the photos started coming out of Trendon wearing the IU uniform, I first thought that he had committed during his unofficial visit. talk about a heart attack… Then i thought someone had just photoshopped his head onto all the Jake Forrester photos (idk about this current recruiting staff, but TC’s staff used to photoshop Indiana jerseys onto recruits they were targeting). Anyway, glad to see Trendon had a great time at AH and hopefully his willingness to don the jersey is a good sign for his recruitment!

  • Arch Puddington

    “I’m just saying the majority of us just don’t care to read about it”

    Then don’t read about it.

    1. You don’t speak for the majority.
    2. And even if you did, so what? We don’t need to take polls around here for what “the majority” wants to talk about. We jus make our points and see who responds.
    3. You say we shouldn’t talk about CTC because he’s gone. Should we never again mention Bob Knight, Mike Davis, or Kelvin Sampson, or is only CTC off limits?
    4. CTC isn’t even part of our past. He is still very much a part of the present. Every player on the team was recruited by him, and all but the freshmen were coached by him. You don’t think we will note how RJ does this year compared to last, and that we won’t speculate about what role coaching plays in any difference. You don’t think we will note if/how our defense changes this year, or our turnovers? You really think it is no longer relevant when a prominent recruit says he wasn’t being recruited, with the clear implication being that CM is having to make up for lost time?

    Seems pretty relevant to me, but then I won’t claim to speak for “the majority”.

  • Actually, there’s mostly positive forward-looking discussion in the forum. There’s mainly discussion about Crean when it comes to anticipating how things will be different (and, yes, most often for the better). I think that makes sense, because there’s value in talking about where a program has been when you’re trying to anticipate where it’s going. That will naturally evaporate, I think, as Archie establishes his own presence as IU’s coach. Mark my words: this coming season there will be copious discussion about how different the play is on the court, and many comparisons to Crean as a coach. In Archie’s second season, there will be far less. By Archie’s third season, we’ll mostly just be comparing to his first two seasons.

    Really, I think here we just have a basic disagreement on when it’s sometimes appropriate to look to the past — I agree that most of the time it’s not helpful or appropriate, but I also think that sometimes it _is_ relevant and worthy of discussion. Sometimes, as in this case, it’s a strong reaction based on something that’s so hard to fathom. What I left out of my own comment is how thankful I am that we now have a coach in Archie where everything just makes so much sense.

    I don’t mind people attacking me for my opinion. I’m used to it, given some of my opinions. Doesn’t mean I’m going to just sit back and accept it, however.

  • There was some discussion of that in the premium forum, seems like it’s not universal to get those shots during visits but it’s not unusual either.

  • Arch Puddington

    So because YOU have moved on, we all should? Sorry, but the condition of the program at this point is still very much about CTC. Go back and listen to what CM and FG said when CM was introduced. Pretty much a laundry list of things that needed to be corrected from the end of the CTC era, things that will be with us directly for at least a while longer. And even after we are fully past CTC, we still won’t be fully past him any more than we are fully past Bob Knight, Mike Davis, or Kelvin Sampson. They are all part of our shared memories of the program, and all steps on the path to where we are now. They will all be mentioned for a long time to come, and the only thing that needs a rest is your telling others which parts of IU basketball they ought to talk about.

  • Arch Puddington

    I can’t even imagine why an IU fan would either a) imagine that CTC is no longer worth talking about, or b) tell others what THEY should talk about. As for me, CTC is still very much a present-tense part of the program. As you say, that will fade significantly in the next year or two, but as I have argued, he will never truly go away. If I am still posting on ITH 10 years from now and IU has won multiple national championships under CM , there will STILL be reason to mention CTC from time to time. He rescued the program from oblivion, and was on the bench for the WatShot and a few other all-time favorite memories. He was also a flawed coach whose teams struggled with the same things over and over, and whose recruiting of Indiana players in particular will leave fans scratching their heads for a generation. Just as we debate Bob Knight’s temper, Mike Davis’s fecklessness, and Kelvin Sampson’s integrity (or lack thereof), we will continue to debate CTC’s coaching for as long as there is an ITH on which to post.

  • Thanks for the clarification. I agree completely.

  • VOXAC30

    I say this based not on Talent but the overall impact to the program. I would definitely take Kion Brooks. Michigan State has been taking our players for far too long now. I want to slap them upside the head as well start recruiting in their backyard. I say that with a heavy heart because I think I would have a very hard time choosing who I would really want. Based on Need for the program that would be Trendon Watford because he can play more of a postposition.

    Personally the slightest of edge still goes to Kion Brooks.

    The perfect class is Trayce Jackson, Trendon Watford, and Kion Brooks and a PG

  • VOXAC30

    Man, tough question!

  • VOXAC30

    Your right they are both Indiana kids?

  • VOXAC30

    I will bet money that Trendon walked in to the gym lights went out Jumbo Tron came on with16,000 screaming fans… “Here comes Verdel Jones, Jones drive down left side of the lane Pass to Trendon… Watford with the shot to win!” Then the crowd…. Goes crazy! Hell, Charles Barkley would committed another 4 years.

    I say Charles Barkley he is from Alabama

  • VOXAC30

    All former players from Indiana as well I might add.

  • VOXAC30

    But if we pull a kid away from Michigan State that sends a bigger message in my view.

  • VOXAC30

    As well for Luguentz Dort that kid is a lot like Rawle Alkins.

  • VOXAC30

    Nice Arch…. It’s Indiana basketball it’s what we talk about and the season is the best time of the year. There is no college sport that compares. If we all sat around at a bar and drank beer we would talk about Indiana basketball.

    The passion we have for our team is relentless. We have three seasons. Summer workouts, Recruiting Season, then after Hoosier Hysteria.

  • sarge

    So you take offense to what MC said in regards to the article, and then respond by being offensive to other posters. Hypocrite much?

  • marcusgresham

    Three Men and a Bab…er, Ball-handler

  • sarge

    I feel bad that you had to defend yourself so much for a logical discussion/opinion. I guess some people are too sensitive to be reasonable. If I don’t do my job, I have to find a new career and not very many would get emotional for me. It just shows the passion for the program. He was more than a coach to many people, and I think we both wish he could have led us to a banner. Have a great week Mark

  • Thanks, and you too!

  • And, if we all sat around at a bar and drank beer and had these discussions, they’d be SO MUCH MORE FUN and so much more civil. We’d be able to immediately clarify points, we’d have a much better idea of the emotional content, and generally the conversations would be drastically different, I’d wager.

  • TomJameson

    No sarge, I made a comment to somebody who was being very offensive. Your taking up for him shows me that you don’t mind that kind of comment. So what if I said to you like …

    You MC lover, why don’t you grow some balls and quit getting offended by every comment to Mark and his minions? Get your own thoughts.

  • TomJameson

    I’ve said repeatedly that I think it was time for TC to be gone. For many reasons, from his inconsistency to the recruiting problems in his last 2-3 years. I’ve said that so many times there shouldn’t be any confusion over what my views are on the TC firing and the changing of the guard.

    But you still probably get a little charge by calling somebody names like a “Crean defender”. You can really be an idiot at times, especially when you go overboard with your love-fest with the new coach. You still don’t see the point I was making at the very beginning.

    You, the Mark-Minions, and the rest of the Crean Haters just go ahead and take EVERY opportunity to kick a man when he’s long gone. I am most definitely out of this.

  • Read the thread, Tom. I posted a simple response to a comment, you didn’t like what I wrote and so you attacked me for it, and then I defended myself. That’s it.

    If you want to make yourself out to be the victim here, go for it. But you should at least recognize that while I disagreed with you, not once did I attack you personally.

  • sarge

    Haha, except he wasn’t being offensive. How old are you? I like MC’s posts, that is fact. MC lover? Minions? Come on man, that’s a little kid reaction.

  • TomJameson

    Why would you even get involved? Do you think Mark needs the help? If you don’t like my posts, why are you still responding, can’t you take your own advice? Did you ever think that maybe something may be offensive to somebody else, without being offensive to you? Are you the judge of what’s offensive to everybody? And yes, I’m old, so maybe my patience runs a little thin with some of this same crud I hear over-and-over-and-over-and-over.

  • sarge

    Because I agree with MC. He said what I would have posted had he not already said it. Answer some of your own questioning, it would make more sense.

  • IUMIKE1

    Anybody that has ever been a coach of IU bball can, should and will be brought up from time to time. With Crean being the most recent “prior” coach I find it only reasonable for it to come up from time to time, actually I’m surprised it’s not brought up and discussed (in a civil manner) more than it is.

  • IUMIKE1

    BOOM….exactly…… just like that

  • IUMIKE1

    Skype version of buds, beer and basketball ? lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Schilling’s hire was the best, most surprising, biggest, and most pleasant, hire of all CM’s hires for this IU bball fan. Was pretty surprised that CM was able to hire him away from Alford and UCLA.