Indiana’s 2012-2013 Big Ten championship team has a fifth player in professional basketball as Christian Watford signed with Hapoel Eliat in Israel on Wednesday.
Watford joins Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Bobcats), Jordan Hulls (Slupsk Energa Czarni/Polish Basketball League) and Derek Elston (Floriana Francesco Fenech Greens/Maltese Powerade League) as the latest Indiana player to ink a professional deal.
Watford, who was not picked in June’s NBA Draft, played for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Summer League and the Dallas Mavericks in the Vegas Summer League, opted to head overseas for a guaranteed contract rather than trying to catch on in the NBA via the Developmental League.
“I had four or five offers from different places in Hungary, Russia Germany but I felt this was the right fit for me,” Watford told IUHoosiers.com. “What really persuaded me to go to Eilat was the great feedback I got from Americans who had played on that team.”
As a senior at Indiana, Watford averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and shot 48.4 percent from 3-point range.
He finished his career in Bloomington in the No. 9 spot on the all-time scoring list.
“My goals are simply to get better as a player and help my team win a championship,” Watford said. “I got some good feedback after the experience in the NBA summer league on what I was doing. I’ve got to get better at creating space and being more complete.”
Watford will leave for Israel on August 24.
Hapoel Eliat offered the following on Watford’s signing via the team’s official web site: “Christian is a very talented player, his collaboration with Haynes Gates under the basket will be important to us. Eilat is an excellent stop for his career.”
Filed to: Christian Watford