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RECRUITING UPDATE: ISAIAH WATKINS OF ST. BENEDICT’S PREP
Isaiah Watkins has seen his game grow tremendously in the past year and his recruitment has followed the same growth curve. The Class of 2013, 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward should be expected to see a continued increase in attention as he gets ready to hit the season with St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark (NJ), one of the most high-profile prep programs in the country. Watkins was drawn to the Gray Bees program, where he will play for coach Mark Taylor, for the opportunity to improve every day and play against the toughest competition possible at the prep level. Even with a daunting schedule ahead for the Newark school, Watkins has set his sights very high for the season.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in big games against the top teams in the nation,” Watkins told NBE over the weekend of what he is most looking forward to this season. “I want to help St. Benedict’s achieve something great, collectively I [want] us to become the top ranked team in [the] nation this year.”
Watkins is certainly willing to put his individual accomplishments to the side and do what it takes to help the Gray Bees win. The native Canadian seems to understand that winning will take care of everything when it comes to exposure and the importance of playing for a winning program in the eyes of college recruiters.
“I’m all about winning and doing things the right way,” he said. “I was able to win at every level in Canadian high school basketball. We have a talented group of young players this year but with our continued sacrifice I believe we can achieve great things.”
Of course Class of 2015 basketball prodigy Isaiah Briscoe is a name on the Gray Bees roster setting the nation a buzz, and the talented point guard is definitely one of the young players Watkins was alluding to of the team’s talent. Miami-commit Melvin Johnson, fellow Canadian import and elite 2013 recruit Tyler Ennis and others will help compliment Watkins, who has his own personal goals which are based on his development as a player.
“Personally I want to improve everyday, be dominant and take my game to the next level with preparation and hard work,” said Watkins.
Watkins has grown and has become more athletic in the past few months, elevating his game with play above the rim while being able to polish his skills as a basketball player with more experience and targeted workouts. He feels he is being able to make an impact on the court in a more wide array of ways with these improvements. With his attitude and intelligence, it is no surprise an impressive spectrum of schools are interested in recruiting Watkins.
“Stanford, NC State, West Virginia, Virginia, Villanova, Harvard, Princeton, Iowa State, Temple, Penn, Arkansas, St. Bonaventure [and] SMU to name a few,” said Watkins when asked which schools were active in his recruitment he is considering. “I’m staying open to all schools at the moment.”
Watkins was not able to put any schools in front of the others at this point and told NBE that all schools mentioned are putting in similar levels of effort to land him. The opportunities to continue his education at the highest level while playing basketball certainly makes his parents very proud and happy.
“I get a lot of mail from [the] majority of those schools,” he said. “It’s nice [and] makes my parents happy.”
When all is said and done, Isaiah Watkins will be making one fanbase and college coaching staff very happy as well when he chooses a college. One lucky program will be receiving a well-rounded student-athlete in their program. One that any parent would be proud of.
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