Basketball Prospectus lists Christian Watford as 31st best college player

  • 07/19/2011 2:31 pm in

Our friends at Basketball Prospectus are counting down the top 100 college basketball players for the 2011-2012 season and up until yesterday, no Indiana player had received a mention. But Prospectus posted the fourth installment of the series on Monday, which included the No. 35 to No. 21 of their list, and Indiana junior forward Christian Watford checked in at No. 31:

31. Christian Watford, Indiana (Jr., PF)
No one that I’ve talked to seems all that excited about Watford’s 2011, but as a sophomore he took on 28 percent of the offensive load for a major-conference team and was efficient about it. Watford kept turnovers to a minimum, made it clear that he was to be guarded on the perimeter, and hit 84 percent of his frequent free throws. If he could shore up that 44 percent two-point shooting, he’d be in good shape. And if Watford’s really as strong a shooter as that free throw success implies, he could change the three-pointer from a tool to a weapon. Take care of both ifs and he would jump quite a few names on this list.

Drew Cannon, the author of the piece, raises some fair points on Watford. His two-point shooting was awfully low for the amount of attempts he took around the basket a year ago, but Watford was excellent at getting to the line (166 attempts) and converting (140 makes). No other Hoosier stands to benefit more from the addition of Cody Zeller than Watford. Zeller’s presence should allow Watford to move around the perimeter a bit more and when IU goes with Zeller and Pritchard alongside Watford, IU’s leading returning scorer should be able to find easier scoring opportunities around the basket.

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  • it is impossible that this rating factor in watford’s defense.  how many spots in the country ahead of verdell could he rank in defensive prowess?  2?  he is going to have to get quicker with the feet if he expects to guard the 3 position this season.  being able to exploit his height at that spot on offense will definitely help.  he will have a great season this year, just defend christian…just defend

  • it is impossible that this rating factor in watford’s defense.  how many spots in the country ahead of verdell could he rank in defensive prowess?  2?  he is going to have to get quicker with the feet if he expects to guard the 3 position this season.  being able to exploit his height at that spot on offense will definitely help.  he will have a great season this year, just defend christian…just defend

  • it is impossible that this rating factor in watford’s defense.  how many spots in the country ahead of verdell could he rank in defensive prowess?  2?  he is going to have to get quicker with the feet if he expects to guard the 3 position this season.  being able to exploit his height at that spot on offense will definitely help.  he will have a great season this year, just defend christian…just defend

  • Anonymous

    I think IU is gonna be a fairly good offensive team next year with Watford, Hulls, Zeller, a hopefully healthy Creek, and Jones who can all score the ball.  

    To take the next step IU is going to have to defend and rebound.  Hopefully those same players that can score the ball can defend the ball.

  • Anonymous

    I think IU is gonna be a fairly good offensive team next year with Watford, Hulls, Zeller, a hopefully healthy Creek, and Jones who can all score the ball.  

    To take the next step IU is going to have to defend and rebound.  Hopefully those same players that can score the ball can defend the ball.

  • Anonymous

    I think IU is gonna be a fairly good offensive team next year with Watford, Hulls, Zeller, a hopefully healthy Creek, and Jones who can all score the ball.  

    To take the next step IU is going to have to defend and rebound.  Hopefully those same players that can score the ball can defend the ball.

  • Anonymous

    Impressive for watford

  • Anonymous

    Impressive for watford

  • Anonymous

    Impressive for watford

  • Anonymous

    Impressive for watford

  • MillaRed

    I’m a little surprised by the negativity circulating ITH these days. On players, recruiting, you name it. It’s a new season folks. Let’s move on.

    I’m expecting big things from CW this season. He came to IU with growth needed physically and possibly more mentally. It should be his team now. I’m hoping he takes it over. The kid has skillz.

  • Anonymous

    I imagine it’s all cyclical.  Towards the end of the season people get down about the team’s performance.  Season’s over and we get excited b/c of recruiting.  now it’s been a few months and we take all the good commits for granted and start complaining again.  Soon enough there will be actual games to talk about and then the actual play on the court can dictate the mood around here.

  • Anonymous

    I imagine it’s all cyclical.  Towards the end of the season people get down about the team’s performance.  Season’s over and we get excited b/c of recruiting.  now it’s been a few months and we take all the good commits for granted and start complaining again.  Soon enough there will be actual games to talk about and then the actual play on the court can dictate the mood around here.

  • Anonymous

    I know some have tossed a bit of criticism CW’s way but the bottom line is this…CW improved tremendously from his freshman to sophomore year.  And, going into his junior year, is being touted as a top 35 player nationally.  This is a success in my eyes, particularly when you consider how hard it has been said CW is working on his game this summer. 

    I expect a similar sized leap CW’s 3rd year, which would be great for the team.  I think the next step for CW is as much mental as physicall.  He needs to be a leader on and off the floor this year and bring some mental toughness to his game.  He does that and IU has a good chance at the tourney.  Hugh had an interview with him at the Pro-Am and he appears to recognize this.

    I am pleased with CW so far.  He has met expectations.  I am confidnent he will continue to do so. Keep it up CW and the rest will notice!

  • Anonymous

    I know some have tossed a bit of criticism CW’s way but the bottom line is this…CW improved tremendously from his freshman to sophomore year.  And, going into his junior year, is being touted as a top 35 player nationally.  This is a success in my eyes, particularly when you consider how hard it has been said CW is working on his game this summer. 

    I expect a similar sized leap CW’s 3rd year, which would be great for the team.  I think the next step for CW is as much mental as physicall.  He needs to be a leader on and off the floor this year and bring some mental toughness to his game.  He does that and IU has a good chance at the tourney.  Hugh had an interview with him at the Pro-Am and he appears to recognize this.

    I am pleased with CW so far.  He has met expectations.  I am confidnent he will continue to do so. Keep it up CW and the rest will notice!

  • Anonymous

    I know some have tossed a bit of criticism CW’s way but the bottom line is this…CW improved tremendously from his freshman to sophomore year.  And, going into his junior year, is being touted as a top 35 player nationally.  This is a success in my eyes, particularly when you consider how hard it has been said CW is working on his game this summer. 

    I expect a similar sized leap CW’s 3rd year, which would be great for the team.  I think the next step for CW is as much mental as physicall.  He needs to be a leader on and off the floor this year and bring some mental toughness to his game.  He does that and IU has a good chance at the tourney.  Hugh had an interview with him at the Pro-Am and he appears to recognize this.

    I am pleased with CW so far.  He has met expectations.  I am confidnent he will continue to do so. Keep it up CW and the rest will notice!

  • Anonymous

    bottom line also for me is that Watford was IU’s best player last year – just saying

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle when it comes to pessimist vs optimist.  I can be critical but give credit where credit is due as well.  For example, I feel like CTC’s offensive scheme for the team he’s had the last three years was dismal at best because he didn’t have the horses to run it, but I do feel like he’s an excellent recruiter and motivator which gives me confidence that the system will work once he has the right players. 

    When it comes to CW, I’ll say this:  Obviously these rankings don’t take defensive effort into account!  I agree that Christian was without a doubt the best offensive weapon IU has had the past couple seasons and he will greatly benefit from CZ’s presence on the floor.  However, my hope is that he’ll also somehow benefit from working against CZ in practice because he moves too slow on his feet to guard the 3 position and was consistently pushed around, spun around, and dominated last year when guarding post players.  Hopefully, working against CZ all preseason will improve his post defense because he will have to be at least a serviceable defensive player in order to help IU because it doesn’t matter how many points you score if you are directly responsible for just as many points allowed!

  • Anonymous

    When a 3 is guarding a 4, he is going to be dominated in the post.  It was made worse with the fact that we had no true center to help out.  I think he will actually be alot better on defense guarrding the 3 this year and Cody to help clean up if someone does get around him.  The 3 is not going to be able to post him up like the 4 did last year

  • Anonymous

    When a 3 is guarding a 4, he is going to be dominated in the post.  It was made worse with the fact that we had no true center to help out.  I think he will actually be alot better on defense guarrding the 3 this year and Cody to help clean up if someone does get around him.  The 3 is not going to be able to post him up like the 4 did last year

  • No negativity, just reality- everyone is impressed with the recruiting classes coming in…the key lies in the ability to take the offensive mindset of such an impressive group and get them to believe and shine in defined roles…only 1 of the 5 on the floor gets a guaranteed shot/ possession barring turnover, and not all of them will make the league.  I too love Christian’s game and am expecting big things from him this season…just would prefer if his game doesn’t revolve around isolation on the perimeter while 3 others stand outside the line and zeller work inside.  Christian could be most effective this season setting a screen for a cutting oladipo while freeing himself outside for a jumper/ midrange game…but what do i know, i’m not the coach 

  • No negativity, just reality- everyone is impressed with the recruiting classes coming in…the key lies in the ability to take the offensive mindset of such an impressive group and get them to believe and shine in defined roles…only 1 of the 5 on the floor gets a guaranteed shot/ possession barring turnover, and not all of them will make the league.  I too love Christian’s game and am expecting big things from him this season…just would prefer if his game doesn’t revolve around isolation on the perimeter while 3 others stand outside the line and zeller work inside.  Christian could be most effective this season setting a screen for a cutting oladipo while freeing himself outside for a jumper/ midrange game…but what do i know, i’m not the coach 

  • as long as he’s quick enough to cut off the dribble…no one wants cody picking up foul trouble from helping on Christian’s man

  • as long as he’s quick enough to cut off the dribble…no one wants cody picking up foul trouble from helping on Christian’s man

  • as long as he’s quick enough to cut off the dribble…no one wants cody picking up foul trouble from helping on Christian’s man

  • Anonymous

    This article echoes everything I was trying to say at the end of last season/beginning of the summer. While Zeller might not take on a whole lot of scoring in his freshmen campaign, his impact WILL be felt in the games of the other players. Pritch, Watford, and even the guards will benefit offensively and defensively from CZ’s presence. It will be nice to have a presence in the middle that can actually block shots and rebound. [Fingers crossed] It should keep guards from picking up cheap fouls. It should help Watford if he gets beat by a 3. And Pritch? We’ll have to see.

  • madnessaddict

    I think alot of you are going to be surprised when you see Watford playing the 4th spot on the floor most of the time next season.  I really feel IU will play 3 guards, which fits into Crean’s guard oriented system, with Watford and Zeller as the bigs.  I think we’ll primarily see Pritchard and Elston rotating off the bench.  Not only do I think this is the lineup we’ll see, I believe it will be their best. 

    IU still wont be deep enough to play 3 bigs, with just Elston coming off the bench, especially with Capo transferring.  Look for IU to push the ball whenever possible, and have excellent spacing when running their sets.  This should be a very good offensive team, with excellent shooting and playmaking ability.  I agree with what somebody said earlier, IU will be as good as their defense is. 

    I think a top 4 Big Dozen finish is definitely possible, with an NCAA at large berth. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree the D needs to get better, but I feel like his disadvantage on the perimeter (speed) is more easily worked around than his dual disadvantages inside (strength/size).  Outside, he can play a step or two further off, because he’s so ridiculously long he can still challenge shots.

  • Anonymous

    I agree the D needs to get better, but I feel like his disadvantage on the perimeter (speed) is more easily worked around than his dual disadvantages inside (strength/size).  Outside, he can play a step or two further off, because he’s so ridiculously long he can still challenge shots.

  • jgongora86

    Watford gets a bad wrap sometimes.  Defense is a team concept.  Other than Oladipo and Sheehey (maybe pritchard? not sure about that), no one played team defense.  But I do think with Zeller coming that he and Victor O, will force some players to realize that they all need to step up when it comes to D.  I think this years team is going to surprise some people and make a good run to go into the tournament.  

  • Luke72

    VO will also contribute alot more this year as well!

  • Anonymous

    Im glad cwat got some props ….. just think how bad it woulda been without him

  • 13th&Woodlawn

    I think you are right on.  I doubt that we will see much of a lineup including Pritch/Watfor/Zeller all on the floor together.  Our depth is at the wing positions. 

  • jgongora86

    Hearing chatter that a garrett green from LSU is looking at our program.  Anyone hear these rumors as well?

  • jgongora86

    Hearing chatter that a garrett green from LSU is looking at our program.  Anyone hear these rumors as well?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree that there’s a chance he could be more effective guarding a three as long as that three isn’t the best shooter in the league because I think he’ll have to give perimeter players a bit of space to make up for his lack of foot speed.  But we don’t really know at this point.  He could come out much quicker or stronger and prove us all wrong.  That’s my hope for this season . . . that the team as a whole comes out with a totally different defensive mindset and plays tougher, meaner, and better!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    My complaint about his defense was mainly solidified near the end of the season when I watched him move out of the way of an offensive player on more than one occasion when he clearly had position.  That’s not scheme.  That’s just effort and toughness and I hope it gets a lot better!

  • Anonymous

    If you saw any of Crean’s tweets today about wanting his team to be the kind of team to kick sand in other’s faces (it actually doesn’t make much more sense if you read the context either) then you’d have seen you and he agree on the tougher and meaner part, at least.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    When I saw that guard from Arkansas was transferring (I think that’s where he’s from) I was immediately interested in him (if he has a good attitude).  His name is escaping me and he’s probably already picked a school but he seemed like a tough nosed little dude and he was there leading scorer.

    Anyone know him or know what’s going on with him?

  • Anonymous

    Believe you are talking about Rodney Clarke (spelling?).  He is good.  The new coach would literally not release him.  So, pretty sure he is stuck.

  • Anonymous

    Believe you are talking about Rodney Clarke (spelling?).  He is good.  The new coach would literally not release him.  So, pretty sure he is stuck.

  • it’s rotnei clarke, his family (uncle i believe) initially wanted to transfer to gonzaga but he has subsequently visited butler…guy can stroke it for sure, has only 1 year of eligibility left and will have to sit a year

  • Btown88

    Don’t forget how good he was mid-Big 10 season before he was injured (and we won a couple of games). An injury can have a huge effect on a player. If he can regain that level, I’ll be happy. Improvement in the rest of the team, especially the addition of Zeller, and I’m optimistic.

  • Btown88

    Don’t forget how good he was mid-Big 10 season before he was injured (and we won a couple of games). An injury can have a huge effect on a player. If he can regain that level, I’ll be happy. Improvement in the rest of the team, especially the addition of Zeller, and I’m optimistic.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s right . . . Clarke.  And they finally released him and I don’t think he’s signed with anyone else. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s right . . . Clarke.  And they finally released him and I don’t think he’s signed with anyone else. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s right . . . Clarke.  And they finally released him and I don’t think he’s signed with anyone else. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    The fact that he’d eat up a scholly in 2012 for his only season is probably why CTC doesn’t want him.  I guess I agree I wouldn’t want to lose out on a McGary or Harris for Clarke’s one season. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    The fact that he’d eat up a scholly in 2012 for his only season is probably why CTC doesn’t want him.  I guess I agree I wouldn’t want to lose out on a McGary or Harris for Clarke’s one season. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    The fact that he’d eat up a scholly in 2012 for his only season is probably why CTC doesn’t want him.  I guess I agree I wouldn’t want to lose out on a McGary or Harris for Clarke’s one season.