Brenda Frese never stops recruiting. The Maryland women's basketball coach collected still another talented 2016 recruit last week when Blair Watson, a 5-11+ wing from Nutley High School (N.J.) committed to the Terps.
This seems to be another case of the Maryland staff finding a somewhat under the radar prospect early, and then watching them blow up over the summer. We spoke to Nutley head coach Larry Mitschow to get the lowdown on this rising junior with immense potential.
"Blair's quite a player," said Mitschow. "She's nearly 6-feet tall, and is really long and lanky. Blair is an excellent athlete whose stock really rose during the USJN Tournament this summer. Lots of schools were after her. LSU, Penn State, Florida, South Carolina, Rutgers, and St. Joe's probably showed the most interest other than Maryland.
"The thing I think that impressed Blair, and me as well, was that Coach Frese personally came up here and scouted her. Most of the other schools sent assistants, and that's fine, but when the head coach shows up, that makes a strong statement with the player. It's funny...we're up in North Jersey and can probably get down to Maryland in a little over three hours, and I really don't think Blair wanted to go much farther away than that. This will allow her mom and other family members to see some of her games in person."
Coach Mitschow had more to say about Watson's game:
"Blair can shoot, there's no doubt about that," said Mitschow. "She had one game last year with eight 3s. In fact, I think at times she's relied a little too much on her outside jumper. She's begun to really create well off the dribble here recently. That will add a whole new element to her game.
"She's only 16, and she'll have to get stronger and be able to play through contact in the future. But she has plenty of time to mature physically. The other thing I love about her game is that she averaged 20 points per game last year (for a 23-4 state sectional finalist), but easily could have averaged 30. She's a very humble, unselfish player. But to tell you the truth, we lost some talent off last year's team, so there'll be even more pressure on her this year, so I kinda hope she averages 30. We're gonna need it."
As to why Watson chose, Mitschow once again talked about the impact Frese had.
"Coach Frese just made an incredible impression on her," said Mitschow. "She loved he campus, thought the facilities were top notch, and all that personal attention just won her over. Blair wanted to concentrate on her academics and the coming season, so she decided to end her recruitment. She's happy with her choice."
Watson, a likely Top 50 prospect in her class, excelled this summer for the New Jersey Panthers, coached by John Griff. She was wooed by other private schools as a transfer, but chose to remain loyal to her school and neighborhood by staying with Nutley. She's another big time addition to the women's program, and the class of 2016 is shaping up as a potential monster class for the Terps.
Frese Lands Top Talent Watson
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