Trendon Watford likes to joke that basically grew up at Indiana, and now he has a chance to play there, just as his brother did.
The five-star 6-foot-7 class of 2019 forward from Mountain Brook, Ala., tonight received a scholarship from new IU coach Archie Miller.
Watford is ranked No. 12 nationally by Scout.com in the 2019 class.
Trendon is the younger brother of 6-foot-9 forward Christian Watford, who played at IU from 2009-13 and was a part of the class that brought IU back to national prominence, including the No. 1 ranking during the 2012-13 season.
“I’m pumped,” Trendon Watford told Peegs.com tonight after receiving the scholarship offer. “I’ve been waiting on it. That’s like my second home. That’s where I grew up. I was up there every weekend when I was little.
“This is big, just having a brother that played there, have a legacy. It was my second home. I met of lot of great players who were on my brother’s team.”
The Watfords plan to make an unofficial visit to IU in early August.
“I think I know my way there,” Ernest Watford, father of Trendon and Christian, said with a laugh.
Watford can play inside and out, scores on the move, makes 3s, can power by defenders, handles the ball, rebounds, defends and has a very high skill level for his age.
As a sophomore, he led his team to a state title and was named Class 7A player of the year in Alabama.
Watford played 17U Nike EYBL as a freshman and is doing so again as a sophomore. Even though he’s playing a year up, he’s been one of the better players on a very competitive circuit.
Miller and his staff watched Watford during both of this spring’s live evaluation periods.
“They said they like how I play, how I bring energy to the floor, how I’m versatile with my ability to play inside and out and how I play defensively,” Watford said.
A highly sought after player, Watford has a number of offers, among them are Indiana, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Iowa and Auburn.
Indiana always was a school that would have a chance with Trendon Watford if it recruited him.
“They’re up there, but I’m still enjoying the process,” Trendon Watford said. “I’ll probably be cutting my list in the next year or so. We’re probably going to take a visit in early August.”
Christian Watford, who hit the legendary 3 at the buzzer to beat No. 1 Kentucky 73-72 on Dec. 10, 2011, always wanted IU to recruit his younger brother, as did his father.
“We’re just excited,” Ernest Watford said. “This was a long time coming. We’ve been waiting on it a while. We had a great experience with Christian, we know how great the fan base is.
“We’ve learned what Indiana basketball means. We’re excited about the new staff, especially coach (Ed) Schilling. We’ve had a long relationship with him. We’re excited about what the new staff is going to do and what their approach is and how they’re going to run the program.”
The phone conversation tonight between Miller and the Watfords was in depth and went very well.
“He spoke about his versatility, being able to play inside and outside. He said he was impressed with his energy, how he attacked basketball. More than that, he spoke about every day passing a photo of the shot Christian hit, the ‘Watshot,’ about the career Christian had and ton of what he heard about us as a family, how we drove up there and supported the whole team, Hoosier nation and not just Christian.
“He talked about how he’s looking to put his stamp on the program, both on the offensive end and turning things up defensively.
“He thought Trendon would be a huge asset to that. He said he was going to stay on him hard and how Trendon was a super priority to him and his staff and coach Schilling.”
Christian Watford went to Schilling for training sessions years ago, and the family attended a seminar Schilling did in the Birmingham, Ala., area years ago before Christian even went to college.
“He comes to Birmingham and does a Fellowship of Christian Athletes seminar that we’ve gone to, even before Christian even started at Indiana,” Ernest Watford said.
“We’ve had a relationship with Ed and we know (assistant) Tommy Ostrom. He was Mike Miller’s coach. We’ve met him a few times, and we know about him. I love the way Ed teaches and trains. His skill development is second to none.”