2021 wing Peyton Watson of Long Beach Poly (CA) has come a long way.
He entered the summer with just two scholarship offers: Grand Canyon and Montana. He is now coming off a Team USA appearance where he held his own.
“It was a great experience playing against some high level competition and kind of seeing where I stand amongst the best in the nation,” Watson said. “So I definitely had fun with that. I came in playing the way I always do—being aggressive and asserted myself. I played really well at the camp.”
USC, who had coaches watching the players in Colorado Springs, reached out at the conclusion of the camp and offered their guy.
“USC has been recruiting me for a while. Pretty much the whole spring and summer,” he said. “So they saw me at USA and thought that was a great judge of my game. So I guess they just decided to offer me a scholarship.
USC likely saw him lock up defensively and try to take on tough challenges. It’s something he planned on doing coming into the camp and by all accounts, succeeded.
“Playing against those good players, I took an extreme amount of pride in my defense that weekend,” he said. “Half the battle is being able to lock players down as well as scoring. I definitely put an emphasis on that.”
The offer from USC wasn’t surprising for the talented guard, but it definitely was something he had been waiting on.
“I’ve already visited the campus once and met all the coaches so it wasn’t so much surprising,” he explained. “I wasn’t as much in awe, but it was an amazing feeling to get that offer and to just know that one of the premier programs in the state, and the standard for college basketball in the state, offered me a scholarship. So that was great.”
Washington, who also spent some time watching Watson at the USA mini-camp, reached out to offer him and he will certainly take that offer seriously.
“That was big. They were the No. 1 team in the Pac 12 last year and with the great recruiting class that they have this year, they might be able to do that again,” he said. “It was big that they reached out to me and I was excited when they did that.”
Maryland, Gonzaga, Oregon, UCLA and Memphis were some of the other names he mentioned that were recruiting him.
A lot of the coaches like his versatility and his ability to be a game changer on both ends of the floor. He is a big time playmaker, but can also lock up when needed. Coming into the summer it’s exactly what he was hoping to show college coaches and he’s grateful that USA mini camp provided the platform.
“I just wanted to come in there and prove to myself more than anyone that I belonged in that gym,” he said. “I had just been ranked right before that and I wanted to show people why I was ranked as high as I was, and why I should be ranked even higher.”
“I just came in with this chip on my shoulder and I wanted to play as confidently and as best as I could.”
Right now, he doesn’t have any set dates for visits. He is, “taking it slow and making sure I’m going to be visiting the right schools.”
With his recruitment heating up, expect it to stay open as more schools do their homework on the talented 2021 prospect that has a college-ready game.