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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  • I love that he posed with an IU jersey.

  • Odfan

    Archie Miller said he wanted to recruit Indiana kids first. Trenton Watford has probably spent more time in Assembly Hall than all of our other recruits combined. I think that kind makes him an honorary Indiana kid.

  • dwdkc

    Really surprised to hear that bit about how they were concerned and surprised that they hadn’t been hearing much from Crean’s staff. At least that’s how I read that. But these guys seemed to make a very strong impression on the family, and this is a very close family. They seem to have the right touch with the old players too. I think Archie really gets Indiana.

  • hardly

    agree…great kid, great family – lot of familiarity on both sides. glad to hear TW is happy that IU picked up the recruiting pace because it puzzled all of us as well!! Let’s hope he’s here in 2019.

  • bleeding crimson

    For them to mention the fact that CTC didn’t reach out, seems to have made an impression enough to make it known in detail. Hopefully IU has long been their final or one of the finalist distination and now the ship is sailing in the right direction. Still lots of time but we could be in the driver’s seat.

  • John D Murphy

    I really hope we land Romeo. But my gut tells me that Trendon Watford will be Archies’s first 5 star recruit and will be the load star that lands multiple 5 stars in the class of 2019. He looks good in the IU uni!

  • inLinE6

    Sounds to me Christian will be the decision maker.

  • Outoftheloop

    Any Watford in Candy-Stripes looks awesome! Loved “The Shot” Christian, will love “The Banner” Trendon even more!

  • Outoftheloop

    What a great kid from a great “Indiana” family! I really hope that he picks IU!

  • Outoftheloop

    Remove the “honorary”. The Watford’s are an “Indiana” family!

  • Piker

    Well I’m not sure that shot I play every year multiple times and the reaction, beating hated UK etc…its close

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    For his class, Trendon is the guy I want. I agree with J. Murphy, he will be the first domino to fall but then it’s game on from there. Romeo is a game changer for sure, and just as important to the program and I think we have a legitimate shot at him too. If we can take TW away from Avery in Alabama, that will be awesome on a national level, imo.

  • Oldguyy

    Ed Schilling seems to know everyone, and reputedly a very good teacher of the game. What a good hire he was.

  • When we evaluate Archie so far, he gets an A+ in terms of his coaching staff. And that includes Coach Marshall, who’s building a world-class conditioning program. The staff is just another reason to be so excited about IU basketball right now.

  • A couple of months ago, I was picking Brook as Archie’s first 5-star recruit. Now, I’m growing confident that we could land Romeo, Brooks, and Trendon. And we’re in the running at least for Garland and Hurt. It’s really all remarkable to me given how I was feeling about IU basketball right after the Georgia Tech game.

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    It was also nice to see that there were a couple of former players on campus such as Yogi. I’m sure we all have read how MSU had a bunch of former players on campus when Brook’s was there and the guys get to see some players they grew up mimicking. With Vic now a Pacer, it could be a huge benefit to have former players on campus, especially for midnight madness. That may already be the case, and I just don’t know.

  • It absolutely sounds like there wasn’t any contact from Crean or his staff. And frankly, even given everything else, this stands out as being a great reason for Crean to be gone. I’m astounded that the 5-start brother of a former player wasn’t being pursued relentlessly by IU’s coaching staff.

  • AndyCapp

    Whether we land Trendon or not, maybe we should consider bringing back Christian in a more formal capacity, a recruiting assistant or something. I know he is still playing but it sounds like he loves IU and his relative age might help relating to the high school guys we are pursuing. Maybe I just like him and his entire family so want them close as the program moves onward and upward.

  • TomJameson

    You know, even the Watford’s understood that it may just not have been the right time for Crean to contact Trendon. TC hadn’t contacted ANY 2019 players. The Watford’s are obviously closer to the situation and understood that part.

    But you hear their story, pounce on that one part of it, and say that one thing is a great reason for Crean to be gone. You are basically espousing your opinion without knowing all the facts, but that’s okay, everybody should still have a right to their opinions. I enjoy that same right.

    But the lack of contacting somebody on the timing that YOU feel is right, isn’t really a great reason to fire somebody. I really wish some would give it a rest and start looking ahead instead of rewriting the past and making stuff up.

  • Give it a rest. Crean doesn’t benefit from you defending him like this. There’s no excuse here, no matter how you want to spin things. If Crean wasn’t contacting any 2019 players, that’s incompetence. If he wasn’t contacting the brother of a recent IU hero, that’s incompetence. And I didn’t bring this up from nothing — the father of said recruit brought it up, and said Christian wasn’t impressed by the lack of contact. And that was a nice way of putting things.

  • And furthermore, you should maybe read the story before attacking how someone else responds to it. Here’s what Trendon’s dad said about Christian’s perception of IU’s recruitment of Trendon so far:

    ““He’s excited about it because he wasn’t so much excited that they weren’t from the beginning. He didn’t really understand it.” And then he backtracked a little to avoid sounding like he was attacking Crean, before saying, “Maybe it was coming, we don’t know.”

    That doesn’t sound much like “even the Watfords understood that it may just not have been the right time for Crean to contact Trendon.” Quite the opposite, since this is what he led with in answering the question. In fact, I have no idea where you got that idea from this story, or anywhere else. If you have a link to a story backing up your claim, then I’d love to see it.

    If you want to nitpick my wording, then go for it. No, obviously, this wouldn’t have been reason by itself to fire Crean. But on top of everything else, it’s a good indication of why he’s gone.

  • TomJameson

    I’m not spinning anything. I’m saying there is no benefit from attacking the previous coach again-and-again. You are quick to call reasons for firing somebody, and calling them incompetent, but you are twisting words to do so.

    You’ve come on awfully strong to defend your position, but I stand by what I said in that you don’t really know anything to base it all on. You are the one spinning a tale, and it’s not a good one. It seems to be a spiteful piece at that, twisting words to make your point that TC needed to be fired.

    You do know that you don’t have to crucify the old coach to build up your love affair with the new one …. right?

  • Seriously? I’m the one who’s twisting things?

  • TomJameson

    There! See how easy it was to admit it?

    lol

  • Brent Kepner

    I would imagine and hope that when the Watford family was walking into Assembly Hall , that the “Wat Shot ” was qued up and played at full volume on the “JUMBOTRON”

  • TomJameson

    Absolutely he was. He has more contacts built up through the years that it’s unbelievable. His reputation throughout all the HS coaches is amazing. I said at the very beginning, and will stick with it, but he will continue to pay dividends for years.

  • TomJameson

    He’ll help guide Trendon, but it sounds like it’ll be a family decision.

  • Are you referring to me here?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Reading this article gave me chills up my spine. IU basketball future is definitely in the right hands of coaching staff. IU is going to win the NCAA title within 4 years.

  • Bailey22

    mc was commenting on a point made within the article. you crean lovers are just hilarious. wow don’t you grow some balls and quit getting so offended by every crean comment

  • Bailey22

    I’m with you man. some people will stick up for crean til the end. kinda sad how offended they get

  • sarge

    It’s not attacking the former coach when you say what we were all thinking after reading the article. I love CTC, but you said it MC, he was falling off. Glad to see Wat and his brother in CandC! Great pic! I don’t find you were twisting anything, just stating the obvious just like Alex and the Watfords are. I really hope all is well with CTC too. I wonder how things were going for him while he was still coach and how they are going for him now. You read things like this and it is a bit baffling and concerning.

  • Bailey22

    attacking? wow…that was attacking?? lol. i’m not going to “name call” b/c you may cry but i’m thing of a work that rhymes with wussy

  • sarge

    You are spinning things though, MC doesn’t attacking Tom Crean constantly. He is merely replying to posted content. That is what the discussion part is all about. Stop taking it personally.

  • sarge

    Is this meant for MC? Is this a joke?

  • sarge

    Trendon is as Indiana as they get. My favorite IU photo of all time is his entire family, himself included, watching his brother bury that dagger 3. Trendon’s reaction was the same as everyone else in that building. Hoosiers!

  • Geoff_85

    No one is offended, just sick of seeing people beating a dead horse’s ghost. He’s gone. Let it go.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i hear you 34, great stuff to read. gives me hope he can take us back to elite status. still lots of work, still need to reel in some 5-stars, but certainly a promising start

  • William Stephens

    Absolutely, having had a child play and graduate from Indiana University make them Hoosiers. Simple fact. Would love to see Trendon wear the candy stripes. Glad to have Archie at the controls but still appreciate Coach Crean’s work, ethics, and passion. Will say one thing about recruits. They are rated for their play as High School and AAU league players. Going into a major university is much different! It takes so much work to improve their game, learn new systems, gain strength and by the way they must get an education. At Indiana the staff believes athletes also should experience the “college life”. This leads to a well rounded graduate who is ready to function in the real world. I strongly agree with this practice. If any recruit comes and thinks he doesn’t need to work, well he has come to the wrong school. GO IU!!!

  • sd chuck

    I understand and agree with you! You are spinning nothing. I took the same things from the article.

  • TomJameson

    Wow, Look at you and your literacy skills. I bet you’re proud of yourself for putting 2 sentences together without too much trouble. In three short sentences, you even managed to get at least 3 offensive name calling jabs in. And also manage to be incorrect in all three.

    Mark, if these are your “defenders”, then I rest my case.

  • millzy32

    Hope he stays put. He’s an Indiana guy and hopefully he sticks around and makes Indiana as good as ever. Depends on his ambitions going forward. Does he want to be a Head Coach again? Who knows. Seems though through is bio that he likes working with High School athletes so recruiting is right up his alley. Hope he stays for a long long time. Can’t believe IU wasn’t pursuing Trendon before Miller came on board. Very strange.

  • millzy32

    How could he go anywhere else after Donning an IU jersey and looking so awesome next to big Bro in this pic. Sign this kid up. Brooks and Watford in 19. A year after Garland and Langford. If all that happens coach Cal might start calling for recruiting advice from Archie.

  • iugradmark

    I posted this on the paid side but I suspect that Crean knew he was not going to be renewed. It was reported that he wanted an extension after the Big championship a year earlier and Fred said that he wanted to wait. I think Crean knew that he was not in great position and was probably backing off a bit on recruiting for the future. The good news for IU is that the family still likes the University and is getting to know the new Staff and is positive about them. Hopefully it works out in the end.

  • I’m not sure what case you’re resting, nor why you’re using one particularly offensive comment to describe everyone who’s commented in this thread. Note that I’m not looking for “defenders” — I’m quite confident in my own comments.

  • 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?

  • 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.