Watkins playing waiting game

There's no denying that the Tar Heels need a center. And when it comes to the Class of 2003, there's only one recruit left on the UNC radar: Darryl Watkins. <I>Inside Carolina</i>'s Jeff Goodman has the update on Watkins.

Now that his season is over, Darryl Watkins is starting to get down to the business of picking a college. However, he won't be able to set up official visits until each team he is considering gets knocked out of the postseason.

The 7-foot Paterson (N.J.) Catholic senior finished his high school career with a foul-plagued 2-point, 3-rebound performance in a 76-64 loss to St. Patrick's in the North Jersey, Parochial B title game last week. Watkins didn't score until with less than a minute left in the game on a dunk. However, Watkins posted 54 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks in a conference tournament game two weeks ago and followed that performance with 12 points, 14 boards, 11 blocks and eight assists a few days later.

Watkins is still considering about a half-dozen schools – Rutgers, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Kentucky and North Carolina.

"We're going to wait for the schools to finish up their season and then we'll take a few visits," Watkins dad, Darryl Watkins Sr. said. "I can't say for sure what we're going to do yet, but he'll almost definitely visit North Carolina and Kentucky."

"He's already been to some of the other schools and he sometimes thinks that he doesn't need to take an official visit to them, but that could change," Watkins Sr. said.

Watkins Sr. also said that at least three of the schools under consideration have questions concerning their head coaches. He has heard the rumors that Ben Howland could be headed from Pittsburgh to UCLA, that Tubby Smith could leave Kentucky for the NBA and that Matt Doherty could be on his way out of Chapel Hill.

However, Doherty has taken the issue head-on.

"I spoke to Doherty and he told me that it still wouldn't be a bad situation to still come to North Carolina even if he isn't the coach," Watkins Sr. added. "That they will get another great coach in and that made me feel a lot better about the situation."

Doherty traveled to Paterson a week ago to attend the school's state playoff game.

Watkins' academics still remain an issue, although he has brought up his grades significantly and has a 3.0 GPA this year. He is also about 100 points shy of qualifying on his SAT score and began a prep course for the test this weekend.

"We're not at Def Con 5 yet," Watkins Sr. said. "We can handle it."


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