C.J. Watson gets to the point

It's only a slight oversimplification to say that the upcoming UT basketball season will hinge on the development of freshman C.J. Watson at the point guard position. He was handed the job when he signed last November but he says that doesn't make his task any easier.

''Not really,'' he said. ''I still need to work hard, show the coaches I can come in and run the show, be a leader on the court.''

Watson hopes to fill a point guard job which has been more less vacant since Tony Harris' departure following the 2000-2001 season. Watson showed during two hours of recent pickup action with several Vol teammates that he has the necessary skills — quickness, plus the ability to handle the ball, pass the ball and shoot the ball. The question is: Does he have the poise and patience?

The answer: Not yet, but he's working on it. The unsupervised pickup action amounts to on-the-job training for the slender 6-foot-2 rookie.

''It's helping me, as far as learning the players and the atmosphere of college ball,'' he said. ''It's different from high school ball. It's more physical. You have to study the game, know the game to play it. I'm learning to stay under control and let the game come to me, not to rush it.''

After being the star player in high school, Watson is learning to blend into more of a team concept at Tennessee. So far, he seems to be progressing nicely.

''I think I'm adjusting pretty good right now,'' he said. ''I'm learning to play my role right now.''

Asked which part of his game needs the most work, he answered without hesitation.

''My jump shot and my dribbling,'' he said. ''I also need to get stronger in the weight room. I've been working hard this summer.''

Although he has a lot of work to do between now and November, Watson is eager to begin his college career.

''I'm very excited,'' he said. ''I can't wait to get started. I've been watching videotape of last year and the year they (Vols) made the Sweet 16. Hopefully, I can take them back to that place, get them back into the tournament.''


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