Justin Watts wanted to be a Tar Heel. On Tuesday the dream became a reality. After a visit to North Carolina on Monday, he signed his papers the following day. Watts, a 6-foot-5 wing, is officially a Tar Heel.
"I talked with coach tonight and I already signed my letter to go to North Carolina," Watts said. "Coach Williams felt there was a need for the position that I'm playing and maybe even more need in case something goes on with the draft."
As a senior at Durham (N.C.) Jordan, Watts averaged 25 points and 9 rebounds. UNC had kept in contact with him throughout the season. Following the season, a rash of Tar Heels began looking into their draft status and it was time to move on Watts; others were getting serious as well.
Watts has a sound perspective on what to think if all the Heels return and opt out of the draft process.
"If they come back it's a learning process," he said. "I'll get better playing against them. It's a win-win."
A few weeks ago, Watts visited Rice with his mother. A strong student, the new Owls staff offered a scholarship. Johnny Dawkins, a former Duke assistant and current Stanford coach, maneuvered the Cardinal into position.
"It had came down that Stanford had put (an offer) on the table," Watts said. "It was between those two and I was weighing the pros and cons with my family and the coaches. I decided it was close to home and it was an honor to play for that program."
For one local kid, the chance to stay home and play for the team he grew up rooting for was all he could ask for.
"It's a dream come true. I grew up a Carolina fan, followed the school and I've been around it."