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Posted On: 02/9/19 9:45 PM
Anton Watson is the best player from Spokane since…well that answer depends who you ask. When asking around Spokane and people that have been following basketball in Washington for decades, the answer is none other than Adam Morrison. The Mead High School Graduate of 2003 was the nation’s leading scorer at Gonzaga, the third overall pick in the NBA Draft and a two-time NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. Adam Morrison was a super scorer in high school, scoring 1,287 points in GSL league games over just three years. He was a perennial First Team All-State Player and led Mead to a number one 4A ranking for much of his senior year. He also averaged 28.5 points per game, which is more than any top level 4A player in 2019’s class. Anton’s had quite the high school career himself. He’s a 30 point, 15 rebound threat every game. He was the State Tournament MVP as a junior, scored over 1000 GSL points in four years and won a 4A championship ring, with hopes of getting his second this March.
While Anton Watson has been very successful in his high school career so far, his game is much different than Adam Morrison’s, who was straight up wired to score. First and foremost, Anton is an athlete. A very good athlete. His father Deon Watson was a Division 1 basketball player at Idaho and played professionally in Europe and South America. His brother, Deon Watson Jr., was a star football player at Idaho. His older sister Haile is a star volleyball player at Fresno State. At around 6’8, Anton is a powerful athlete that can bang in the post. He also has the agility to take defenders off the bounce and blow by. His three point shot has really come along in the last couple years and he is a legit threat from deep. The thing that stands out about Anton the most, compared to other top players in the state, is his relentless motor. He competes for every rebound and he consistently runs the floor hard. He is a true competitor and sometimes it’s easy for such talented prospects to take it easy at times and go into cruise control. One of the biggest complaints from college coaches when evaluating high school players is their competitive nature and willingness to compete consistently. Coach Mark Few does not have to worry about that with Anton next year when the Gonzaga Prep standout joins Gonzaga University.
Anton gave a verbal commitment to Gonzaga during his junior year and never wavered on his commitment. Gonzaga is currently ranked number four in the country and a perennial national powerhouse. In a day and age with recruits announcing their “final ” schools or skydiving and making an announcement mid air, Anton went about his business in a humble fashion. The recruitment process matched the Watson family quite well; humble. Anton had offers to play on shoe-sponsored travel teams, but decided to play with his peers from the Spokane area. Although coached by John Stockton, the Spokane Griffins did not have the name recognition of some other teams from around the state. But then again, that’s just how the Watson’s go about their business; humble. While he is gracious off the floor, do not overlook Anton’s aggressive style on it. He is an outright competitor and it has some people talking, including NBA folks.
Some mock drafts have Anton projected to go in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. Gonzaga is not known for producing a lot of one and done players, but maybe Anton will follow his own trend. Before Gonzaga or NBA talks, Anton has one more 4A State Title to capture. It will not be easy with the likes of Federal Way standing in the way, but the state of Washington will be fortunate to be able to see Anton play for at least another year and half. Basketball fans can expect to see a humble, but ferocious competitor. The next great player from Spokane might just be called “The best player since, Anton Watson.”
Photo Credit: Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review