Watts in no rush to commit
Stephanie Watts took a visit to Clemson University recently, but don’t read too much into it.
The Weddington High star, now entering her junior year, isn’t close to making her college decision.
Clemson is the ninth major college to offer the 5-9 combo guard a full scholarship, and the new Tigers coaching staff asked her to come down.
The ever-polite Watts obliged.
“It’s exciting to get offers from these nice schools,” said Watts, who is already a two-time conference player of the year. “But I don’t think about it too much. I’m just playing basketball.”
According to WHS coach Ryun Cook, Watts now has offers from Clemson, Auburn, Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
Watts and the Warriors, who finished 21-7 last year, attended a one-day team camp at Wake Forest over the weekend and went 3-0 with a win over a state championship team from Virginia.
“I think we will be better than last year,” Watts said. “We have a pretty strong team. We have more players shooting with confidence, making perimeter shots, and that’s what we need.”
Watts drew a lot of double teams last year. Some opponents even had two defenders chase her all over the court and the other three defenders play a triangle zone.
“In college and AAU nobody plays like that,” Watts said. “In college every single player is so good you can’t play a triangle-and-two. I think it will be harder for teams to do that this year. Bailee Carter is playing great and our point guard, Jada Craig, is doing very, very well. We’ve got a couple players up from the middle school that I think will help us, too.”
Even with the junk defenses, Watts averaged 22.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.5 steals, 3.4 assists and 2.4 blocks as a sophomore.
She scored a county-record 50 points in a game last season, and followed it up with an almost unheard of quadruple-double. She also had a 44-point game.
Watts watches a lot of NBA games and also follows the women’s college game.
Her favorite pro players are LeBron James and Tony Parker. She’s working on Parker’s spin move this summer.
Watts’ favorite college player is Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas, a two-time all-American.
Maryland coach Brenda Frese calls the reigning ACC player of the year “the most ferocious competitor I’ve ever coached.”
Frese is among the major college coaches already in hot pursuit of Watts, who isn’t in any rush to make a decision.
“I’ll probably wait it out for a while,” she said. “I’m not 100 percent sure, but as of now I don’t think I’ll be deciding anytime soon. I don’t have a favorite college team, I really don’t, but I watch a lot of games. I love the way Alyssa Thomas plays.
“I’m not thinking about college right now. We need to get stronger as a team and we’re spending a lot of time in the weight room. I want to be more of a leader this year. I’m looking forward to the season.”