Junior to Watch: Darryl Watkins

Darryl Watkins can finally get down to business after being in limbo for much of the past year.

The 6-11, 235-pound junior, who transferred from Passaic Tech (N.J.) to nearby Paterson Catholic, was finally declared eligible by a judge after it was ruled that he didn't make the switch for athletic advantage.

Watkins, who lists UNC among his top five (along with Syracuse, Seton Hall, Cincinnati and St. John's), will have to sit for the first 30 days of the season – which is normal for transfers who have earned varsity letters in the state of New Jersey.

"The season starts on Dec. 15 and I can play on Jan. 15," he said. "I was really excited when I found out I could play."

"The NJSIAA had originally declared both Watkins and Collin Bailey ineligible after the duo withdrew from Passaic on March 22 and enrolled at Paterson Catholic just days later.

Watkins said the reason for the change was because of academics.

"They're really strict about the rules for playing here," Watkins said of Paterson Catholic. "You can't fail any classes and play."

Watkins said that the Tar Heels have been the most aggressive of the five schools. He mentions them first among the five schools, but maintains that he has no leader as of yet.

Watkins averaged 13 points, 10 boards and six blocks last season at Passaic. He runs the floor extremely well for a player his size, but needs to improve his shooting skills. A raw talent who could develop into a dominant shot-blocker, Watkins had a solid ABCD Camp this past summer.

Watkins scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a head-to-head matchup with Jason Fraser towards the end of the camp. It was virtually a draw as Fraser finished with 12 points, 10 boards and six blocks.

"The thing I liked about Watkins was his agility in the paint and the fact that he's tall and lanky and quick off his feet," said IC's Clint Jackson. "He's a great shot-blocker, and a very good rebounder when he plays with intensity. Most of his scoring comes down low and he's going to get some stickbacks as well.

"I think his offensive game is coming along, but that's obviously the biggest area for improvement at this point. And if he can translate that occasional intensity into consistent intensity -- look out basketball world." (Thanks to TerpHoops.com for the photo.)

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