Indiana fans in Freedom Hall got a glimpse of the future Saturday night as IU signees Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek teamed up to win the Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic, 151-145.
“It was a great experience,” Watford said afterwards. Creek, who met Watford in person for the first time on Thursday afternoon, echoed Watford’s sentiments. “It was fun. I got off to a slow start at first, but then we picked it up. I enjoyed it.” Creek said.
Watford led the IU trio on the Gold team with 26 points, including 8 of 10 from the free throw line. Creek added 21 points and Hulls, who is expected to be named Mr. Basketball on Sunday, had six points.
The night began with player introductions that lasted approximately 25 minutes. Creek was the first IU recruit announced and wore an Indiana flag over his shoulders as he was announced to the crowd of 13,111.
“I bought it at the mall this morning,” Creek said of the flag. “My mom said I should come out and do what Dwight Howard did with the cape.”
The Gold team led 70-59 at halftime and the intermission brought the completion of the 3-point shootout. Hulls won the competition with 14 points, beating Creek, Eric Murphy and Mike Marra.
“I think I had 14, but I’ll give it to J. Hulls,” Creek laughed. “It felt good (playing with Hulls). He’s like a Steve Nash type point guard.”
The next time this trio of Hoosiers will be on the court together in game action will be this fall in Assembly Hall. But in the meantime, they’re looking forward to putting in the work that will bring improvement in the 2009-2010.
“It’s going to take some work,” Watford said. “But with Coach Crean behind us, we’re going to win some games.”
We’re on the scene in Freedom Hall for the 2009 Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford will be participating for the Gold Team. As we move closer to tip-off, we’ll team with the Herald-Times for a live blog.
Considered by many to be the prize of Tom Crean’s 2009 recruiting class, Birmingham native Christian Watford showed off his skills Friday night in the Night of the Future Stars at Bellarmine University. Watford competed with Louisville signee Peyton Siva in the 2-on-2 contest and also participated in the dunk contest and 3-point shootout. Here are the highlights from Watford’s performance:
Future Indiana teammates Maurice Creek and Jordan Hulls advanced to the finals of the Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Classic 3-point shootout Friday night at Knights Hall at Bellarmine University.
In total, four players advanced to the finals of the event which will be held at halftime of Saturday’s Derby Festival Classic game.
Creek led all shooters with 17 first round points while Hulls tied Louisville signee Mike Marra with 15 points.
Dunk contest: Creek and Christian Watford both participated in the preliminary round of the dunk contest, but neither advanced to Saturday’s final.
2-on-2 contest: Creek and UCLA signee Brendan Lane fell 13-8 in the final to Eric Bledsoe (undecided) and Rakeem Buckles (Louisville). Hulls, who teamed with Stephan Van Treese (Louisville) and Watford, who teamed with Peyton Siva (Louisville), both fell in the first round.
After watching him for a couple of hours yesterday, it’s not hard to see why Christian Watford is considered the prized recruit of Indiana’s 2009 class. He’s a legitimate 6-8, can play inside or outside and is extremely athletic. As is the case with most freshmen, he’ll need to put in work in the weight room over the summer, but he’s got a chance to be a very good player for the Hoosiers.
I caught up with Watford before yesterday’s practice for the Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic and here are some excerpts from that conversation:
On what he’s looking to get out of the experience of playing with Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek this weekend:
“I’m looking forward to building a little chemistry together and keep it going on to Indiana. Just having fun with each other, that’s the main thing.”
On what ultimately led him to choosing Indiana:
“I knew Bennie Seltzer. He’s from Birmingham. When they were at Marquette, it was a little too far for me to go, but they moved closer to home. It was easier for me to get adapted to Indiana than it was Marquette. They just stayed on me hard the whole time. Colleges would sometimes lag off of me and come back on, but they stayed consistent the whole time.”
On what he got out of the recruiting process:
“I liked it. I tried to enjoy it. It only happens once in your life. Everybody doesn’t get a chance to go through it. I thought it was fun to get a chance to go through it.”
Three of the six Indiana signees – Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford – practiced together for the first time this afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic. I’ll have more on the practice, including quotes from all three players, later this evening and tomorrow. For now, here’s a picture I took of the three of them before the workout:
Here are the final rosters for the 2009 Wazoo Sports Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford will play together on the Gold team. Inside the Hall will have coverage throughout the weekend beginning late on Thursday.
Maurice Creek, Indiana, 6’5″, 200, Guard
Tyler Griffey, Illinois, 6’8″, 230, Forward
Jon Hood, Kentucky, 6’7″, 190, Guard Jordan Hulls, Indiana, 6’0″, 170, Guard
Brendan Lane, UCLA, 6’9″, 205, Forward
Michael Snaer, Florida State, 6’4″, Guard
Daniel Orton, Kentucky, 6’10”, 260, Center Christian Watford, Indiana, 6’8″, 215, Forward
Maalik Wayns, Villanova, 6’1″, 190, Guard
Rodney Williams, Minnesota, 6’6″, Forward
Kyryl Natyazhko, Undecided, 6’11”, Center
Coaches: Vince Walden, IMG Academy – Florida; Lewis Howard, Largo H.S. – Maryland
Nolan Dennis, Memphis, 6’5″, 180, Guard
Rakeem Buckles, Louisvile, 6’8″, 203, Forward
Eric Bledsoe, Undecided, 6’0″, 160, Guard
Lakeem Jackson, South Carolina, 6’5″, 220, Forward
Elijah Johnson, Kansas, 6’2″, 183, Guard
Noel Johnson, USC, 6’7″, 180, Forward
Mike Marra, Louisville, 6’4″, 200, Guard
Eric Murphy, Florida, 6’10”, 220, Forward
Raymond Penn, Oklahoma State, 5’9″, 150, Guard
Peyton Siva, Louisville, 6’0″, 180, Guard
Stephan Van Treese, Louisville, 6’9″, 225, Forward
DaShonte Riley, Syracuse, 6’11”, Center
Coaches: David Gaines, Christ School- North Carolina; Andre Flynn, Fayette County H.S. – Georgia