SPOKANE, Wash. — Former Gonzaga Prep and GU commit Anton Watson is back home after trying out for the USA basketball under 19 World Cup team.
He made the first cut, but didn't make the final 12 man roster. As his attention shifts to his freshman year with the Zags, KREM 2's Karthik Venkataraman spoke with him about his experience and his preparation for his college playing days.
Question: You just got back from the World Cup Usa basketball under 19 tryout for the team this summer. You did U-18 last summer as well. What was your experience this summer?
Watson: It didn't go my way not making the team, but I definitely took a lot of things from it, learning like getting stronger, being more confident. It's just a lot of good talent trying to fight for those 12 spots. It was a little bit of a taste of college because everyone was stronger, faster, quicker and that's what it is going to be like next year so it helped a lot.
Q: 2020 class Gonzaga recruits Jalen Suggs and Walker Kessler were there. Did you lobby trying to get either of those guys to come to GU?
Watson: Walker was actually my teammate so I got to know him a lot. Jalen, I got to talk to him a lot. He said he loves GU and he's a hooper. You saw he made the team (The U-19 team) so he's a hooper. I feel like they fit the GU offense and system well so if they came here that would bee a good time for us.
Q: So now that you've come off U-19, your attention turns towards your first year at Gonzaga, What are you hoping to work on by the time you get to GU?
Watson: Just getting stronger, ball handling, I have to work on my guard skills a lot because I'll be playing the 3 and the 4 so all of that. Kind of what Rui played. He brought it up the court and he shot at mid-range so I think I'll be working on that a lot this summer.
Q: What former player that came through GU do you feel your game compares most to?
Watson: That's tough. I feel like honestly Rui. How I played in high school I feel like I play a lot like that. But I don't know, I feel like college is going to be different because I'm not going to be as tall and I'll have to play a little more guard so that's a tough question.
Q: Gonzaga is about to load up with one of the best recruiting classes they've ever had, getting in all these different guys. What excitement level does that bring for you as you go from a Bullpup to Bulldog?
Watson: It's really exciting because the program is growing. I feel like I'm right in the mix and it's going to be fun. They're good players and I feel like I'm a good player so when we combine we are going to do some work next year.
Q: With that much talent coming in and even next year (the 2020 class) with some guys already committing, what do you see is the future of Gonzaga basketball in the years you plan on staying there?
Watson: A lot of wins and hopefully a national championship. I think that's the main goal is to bring one back to Spokane.
Q: Do you feel like it's national championship or bust with that much talent coming through?
Watson: Yeah, I think it's possible. It's definitely going to take a lot of hard work, but it's definitely possible.