Watford Talks About IU Commitment

Bloomington – So what eventually won Christian Watford over? Sure there's the tradition of the IU program and the loyal fan base, both of which Watford witnessed during trips to town for an AAU event in May and an IU Elite Camp in August. But there was something else that was every bit as important to Watford.

Bloomington – So what eventually won Christian Watford over?

Sure there's the tradition of the IU program and the loyal fan base, both of which Watford witnessed during trips to town for an AAU event in May and an IU Elite Camp in August. But there was something else that was every bit as important to Watford.

Persistence.

While some of the other finalists didn't show the same sort of dedication in their pursuit of the 6-7 ½, 215-pound forward from Birmingham, Ala., Indiana's interest never wavered. That, as much as anything, is why IU Coach Tom Crean landed Scout.com's 72nd-ranked player Tuesday night. Watford committed during an in-home visit with Crean and IU Assistant Coach Bennie Seltzer.

They just stayed on me," Watford said Tuesday night while at dinner with his family and the IU coaching staff. "They recruited me all the way through, it never did change. They were probably behind for a little bit, but they stayed on me."

Watford said it eventually became clear to him during his second trip to Bloomington that IU was the right place for him.

"I knew (I was going to go to IU) since I went there Aug. 23 for the elite camp," Watford said. "We talked about it on our way home, and I pretty well knew I was going to do it. I just wanted to wait until Coach Crean came down so I could do it in person."

Indiana had to play catch-up during the recruiting process, as big names such as Louisville, Memphis, Kentucky and Alabama were also in the running at different times. Louisville appeared to be the team to beat at one point, but Crean's recruiting approach and Indiana's tradition eventually won Watford over.

Watford joins Derek Elston, Bobby Capobianco, Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek in a five-player IU class that figures to be ranked in the top-five nationally. With signing day now less than two months away, IU is one of only two programs with four players ranked in Scout.com's top 100 along with North Carolina (5).

Watford said he talked with both Hulls and Capobianco after he made his IU pledge, and both were extremely excited about the prospects of him joining the class. Hulls played with Watford during the Elite Camp and raved about his future teammate's abilities.

"He's so versatile, he creates a big mismatch for the other team," Hulls said. "He can shoot, he can drive, he can post up, he can do it all. He's so long and athletic. He's a really good player."

Now, he's set to be Hulls' teammate. After courting a handful of versatile forwards during the recruiting process, Watford was the one that Crean and his staff eventually zeroed in on as their No. 1 priority. They see him as not only a player who can be an immediate impact player, but someone who has a chance to blossom into a pro prospect.

"He sees me as a do-it-all type, a versatile player," Watford said. "He thinks I'm a next-level type of guy."

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