Watson Prepared to Take Next Step at CMU

The Central Michigan University basketball program beat out five other Division I schools for Bridgton (Maine) Academy point guard Giordan Watson. His nickname is "G-Wat" and his high voltage style of play could very soon be electrifying crowds at Rose Arena and around the Mid-American Conference.

Giordan Watson had a growth spurt this year at Bridgton Academy.

No, the flashy 5-foot-11 point guard who led the Wolverines to a 27-7 record this season did not grow physically. Rather, he grew as a person on and off the court.

"The year helped me grow as a person academically and athletically, almost like a year of college," Watson said. "I think I'm better prepared to play in college now."

Before spending this year at Bridgton Academy, Watson played high school ball at Birmingham (Mich.) Groves. His coach there, Bill Norton, said Watson was the finest point guard in the state after he scored 32 points to lead the Falcons (20-4) in a 76-67 upset win over two-time state champion Pontiac Northern.

"Bill Norton was so adamant about Giordan and the type of point guard he is," Bridgton head coach Whit Lesure said, "in this case, I think he may have been right."

Although Watson himself said that may be a bit of a stretch, he does consider himself "among the best."

"I always thought I was one of the best point guards (in the state)," Watson said. "I do a lot of things pretty well: shoot, pass, dribble and score."

And don't forget the hops. Watson has a 40-inch vertical leap and is noted for converting windmill dunks over much taller players.

Watson had many offers from Division I colleges, but after visiting CMU last week, he determined that was the best school for him.

"Central Michigan was the closest school to home and the highest level of play," Watson said. "It's the best place for me to get some exposure and take it to the next level. I know I have the opportunity to play right away if I work hard."

Watson said he also had offers and interest from such schools as Oakland, Drake, Canisius, Loyola (Ill.) and Stony Brook. Big East schools Boston College and Miami (Fla.) also expressed interest in Watson.

Lesure said he feels Watson made the right choice in signing with the Chippewas.

"Some of these same schools didn't offer him last year and they did this year because he's a better player," Lesure said. "Giordan's got a chance to be really good in the MAC. He's going to grow at CMU. It's a great fit."

Perhaps the finest hour this season for Bridgton Academy came when they beat top-ranked Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, 88-72, the school's only loss of the season. Hargrave's top six players all signed with high major programs.

Watson, the Wolverines captain and floor leader, scored 11 points in that game, one under his average at Bridgton. He remembers the game well.

"That game shows what a team can do against individuals," Watson said. "I can hold my own with anybody. Reputation doesn't mean too much once you step on the court."

"Giordan is an aggressive kid who loves the game," Lesure said. "He's strong with great athleticism and work ethic.

"Giordan's not a little guard who's like a jitter bug," Lesure added. "He gets to the lane and can hit the pull-up jumper or kick it out. He creates very well, like Mike Bibby."

Watson said he is anxious to get started at CMU. He will begin summer classes June 28 and added that he plans to study business administration or sports management.

"I like how CMU is far enough away from home for me, yet close enough (two hours away) for my parents to come watch me play," Watson said.

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