Watson Searching For College Home

James Watson isn't your average high school senior. He's come a long way on the court but more importantly he's found a home off the court. His story is as unique as the small Oklahoma town he hails from.

The James Watson story is guaranteed to have a happy ending. Watson, a 6-foot-8 power forward out of Stringtown (Okla.) High, is on the verge of beginning his official visit slate. A few years ago, the prospect of playing college basketball was unfathomable.

"I don't think I'd be in this position all," Watson told Scout.com. "I don't know where I'd be."

Watson wouldn't be on target to graduate from high school if it wasn't for the Watson Family, his adoptive parents who have poured their hearts into his life.

"He was in foster care from when he was 6 until he got adopted at 14," Annette Watson said. "It's been a challenging but sweet story because we love that boy. He's a good kid. He's been a blessing to us. We love him."

While the relationship surely is benefiting Watson as he puts order and stability onto his life, the Watson Family might have needed James as much as he needed them.

"A year after he came to live with us we lost our daughter in a car accident. She played basketball in college and James has filled a lot of emptiness in our life. God sent us you because he knew all along we needed you."

An extremely bouncy athlete with a penchant for blocking shots and running the floor, Watson has drawn attention on different levels. A 3-star prospect per Scout.com, he's going to visit a Pac-10 program first.

"We're going to Washington State Sept 14," Annette Watson said. "He's been invited for a lot of other official visits. We're going unofficially to Missouri State on Thursday. He's talking about doing unofficials at Oral Roberts, Baylor and Tulsa."

Watson's family knew that being from Stringtown, an extremely small Oklahoma town, James needed a boost in exposure. "It's the smallest ball you can play in Oklahoma and that's the reason we let him drive 3 hours to the city to play against better competition."

Playing AAU ball allowed him to bee seen on the trail. Washington State liked what it saw and moved quickly. "Washington State's a good program and we're definitely interested. I really like the coach there. They saw him in Denton when James played really well. They followed him the rest of the summer."

If it sounds like Annette Watson is doing most of the talking about James, it's because she is. Her son is reserved and she readily admits getting information about James is tough to come by. "James is really funny," Watson said laughing. "You won't get much information out of him. He's real funny about it and I don't know what he really wants. Really Missouri State and Washington State are the two places that interest us the most."

The forward is likely to see other campuses in the coming month. "James is just now getting recruited hard. We're within driving distance to Baylor, Tulsa and Oral Roberts. You're only allowed five and we wanted to see if we needed them for other opportunities that might be farther.

"He's getting recruited in the Big 12 but a lot have had just minimal interest. Iowa State, Baylor are the ones recruiting him hard. North Texas, Denver, Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon."

There's been chatter behind the scenes about Watson's academics but his mother says he'll be fine. "He's not real happy with me right now because I'm on him about his academics. The way it looks right now he'll be qualified by December.

"He was 14 going into his freshman year when he came to live with us. That was when his grades were low. That was a big adjustment for him."

Watson's come a long way. He's got his feet under him now and while he's still flying slightly under the radar nationally, his story is one that likely will be told over and over on the campus of his choice in the future.


Scout Hoops Top Stories