Game Improvement

West Virginia basketball signee Brandon Watkins is off to a good start for Grady High School, but he's not concerned about stats – so much so that the 6-10 senior doesn't even know where to find his numbers online.

"I'm not really sure," the well-spoken center said when asked about his current numbers. "I do know my scoring is down a little bit from last year, but my rebounding and blocked shots are up."

For the record, Watkins was averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game through the early part of the season, but he is more concerned with the twin goals of making his team better and improving his game for college, and he believes he has made progress on both fronts. A new head coach, Brian Weeden, is manning the helm for the Knights this year, and Watkins likes the way coach and team have melded so far.

"We are understanding him and he is understanding us," he said of the transition to a new regime. "We're learning about each other. He hasn't changed our system, but he's been working with me to help me improve my post game. He hasn't changed my game, but he is working with me on the blocks to help me work on that. He has shown me some things so far that have helped."

Improvement on the blocks and with his back to the basket are priorities for Grady, who works well facing the basket.

"When I used to get the ball inside, I'd turn and face the basket," he said. "I'm trying to develop my back to the basket moves now. I think I have the technique and the footwork to do that – it's just a matter of strength now."

Adding size and muscle mass during the regular season is a chore for any athlete, but Watkins is doing what he can to improve in that regard. He's incorporating a regular regimen of weightlifting and push-ups to help add upper body power, but believes that the best chance to do that lies in Morgantown.

"I'll be coming up to West Virginia in June, and a couple of months in the weight room with Andy Kettler will help me a lot. I know I shouldn't be looking forward to that," he added with a laugh, "but I think that will really help me get stronger."

Overall, Watkins said he is happy with his team's accomplishments to date, and believes he has made some progress in developing a more well-rounded game for college. He wants to have "a total game" available for college, and while he knows that might not be ready for day one on campus, he has it as a goal that he continues to work toward.

"I've been working on all parts of my game," he said as Grady prepares to enter the meat of its season. "We've gotten a couple of good wins so far, and I think we are coming together as a team. I'm doing everything I can to get better."


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