Q&A with Justin Watts

RALEIGH, N.C. --- Justin Watts has garnered the interest of a number of high major programs this season, including North Carolina.

The 6-4 senior guard from Durham (N.C.) Jordan opened play at the GSK Holiday Invitational on Thursday with a game-high 25 points in a loss to Taft. His head coach called it "just another day at the office."

"That's a typical night for Justin," said Jordan coach Kim Annas. "He's a three-year starter on the varsity and since his sophomore year each season he's been getting better and better. This season he's averaging around 29 points and 9 rebounds per game. This was just another day at the office for him."

After the game, Watts talked with Inside Carolina ...

You scored most of your points by attacking the basket today. Is that usually where your points come from or was it a case of the outside shots just not falling for you this time?

Yeah, I would say it was just the shots not falling. I was trying to force it and do a little too much at time, rushing my game. Other than that this is what I usually do – have fun and play ball.

What position do you see yourself playing at the next level?

More of a ‘2.' With this team, I've got to do whatever it takes. When we have problems at the point guard position, I've got to step up and play the point. If we're having problems at the ‘3' or down low I've got to help them out. We're a young team, some of these guys it's their first year on varsity. I see myself playing the ‘2' or combo in college.

You've started to get more attention of late from colleges and the media has taken notice of you leading the area in scoring …

I really don't pay attention to the media or get caught up in it. I just go do what my coach asks me to do: step up if I need to step up and set a teammate up if I need to do that.

With that said, how was it playing on this big stage today with a full house against a nationally ranked team?

That's what you play basketball for. You play against good players, you learn and you [improve].

What are the college coaches saying they like about your game?

When I talk to coaches, they tell me I can do everything well – not just one thing great -- and that I bring a lot to the table.

Would you like to play at an ACC school given a choice?

Yes, yes I would.

Any schools you prefer? You have a school you grew up liking?

Of course I grew up a North Carolina fan being in Durham. But I have no favorite right now.

Can you talk about the schools that have recently gotten involved since word has gotten out about you this fall?

University of Michigan, Penn State, Georgia, Temple, University of North Carolina – I went over for a couple games that Coach Williams invited me to.

Which games did you attend at UNC?

Santa Barbara and Nicholls State. I would be going to the game tonight but I don't think I'll have time.

What has the UNC staff told you?

They came to one of my games (against Hillside) and they told me to be a leader on the court and not to take any possessions off.

In terms of UNC's recruitment of you, where does that stand?

Coach Williams told me he really likes my game and he's going to come back to another game. They are considering an offer but I don't know yet.

What schools have stepped up with an offer thus far?

I talked to the Michigan coach yesterday. John Beilein called me and wanted to know if I have a genuine interest and if I do they will put an offer on the table. So will Penn State. I'm going to take some visits up there after the New Year and see how everything goes from there.

What's your timeframe now – will you wait for more offers or jump on an early offer?

I think whatever is the best fit for me – college campus, what I'll be playing when I get there, education-wise with my major – if the right one comes along I'll end it. But I'm not sure about that yet.

What would be the ‘right school' to come along?

I don't know, honestly. I'll have a feeling in my heart that it's the right school.

Do you have any other visits set up?

I'm going to South Carolina on Jan. 12 to watch a game and that's it so far. I'm going to set up one with Michigan and Penn State.

All these schools seemed to have taken interest recently …

I kind of got on the scene late – the AAU scene – I was with the Richmond Squires and switched to the Carolina Raptors after they broke up. Coaches are just talking to me and saying they're really impressed with my game and will keep following.

Who was the first high major school to take notice of you?

It was probably Illinois. They took an interest in me last summer. [Assistant] coach Tracy Webster and [head coach] Bruce Weber. That was the first school.

You feel any loyalty to them because of that?

Not really, because Coach Webster left and went to Kentucky.

What aspects of your game are you giving the most attention to try and improve at this point?

Decision-making, not forcing it a lot and keep working on my shooting and ball-handling.

Justin Watts Profile

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