Since moving to Spokane, Anton Watson has lived out the life that every young athlete dream of as a kid. He won not one, but two state championships in high school while being named the state’s Mr. Basketball as a senior. After committing to his hometown Division I basketball program, he’s been a part of three trips to the Sweet Sixteen and played in a national championship game.
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Over the past few months, Gonzaga fans have experienced both the highs and the lows of off-season roster fluctuation. Since their season ended in the Sweet 16, the Bulldogs have won and lost important recruiting battles. They’ve hit on key transfers and missed on others. They’ve bid farewell to certain players and waited until the eleventh hour to learn if others would return.
When I reviewed a post-game box score last season, I was usually surprised by Anton Watson’s stats. Either by how well he played or how he seemingly disappeared. As a freshman, Watson started his first four games at Gonzaga. Killian Tillie was injured, and Mark Few gave Anton the nod over some Texas kid named Timme. Watson was quick to impress; in his first three college games, he scored a combined 32 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, dished 8 assists with 5 steals and 3 blocks. Out of the gate, Anton demonstrated the ability to just fill the stat sheet. Shortly thereafter, he suffered the shoulder injury he was unable to play through and spent the final two-thirds of the season on the bench.
It was midway through the first half of a game back on Jan. 11, 2020, when Anton Watson went for a transition layup. He made the bucket but was fouled in the process and wound up on the deck in some pain. It was the final play of a promising freshman season.
This week’s spotlight starts on the best bench in college basketball. Gonzaga’s player this week is Anton Watson. The player I dubbed the Gonzaga Bulldogs “quiet enforcer.”. Anton Watson was born in Coeur d’Alene, ID, on October 6, 2000. His father, Deon Watson Sr., played basketball for...
Gonzaga opened West Coast Conference play over the weekend and did so with a bang, putting their depth and talent in the frontcourt on full display. On Saturday, the Zags blew out Pepperdine 117-83 inside The Kennel. Sure, it was the Zags’ 42nd consecutive win over the Waves, a winning streak that goes back to 2002, is the third-longest winning streak in college basketball history, and the longest winning streak that is currently active. Sure, the Waves are one of just two WCC teams with a losing record on the season, and the Zags are, well, the Zags. But, despite the lopsided matchup, the result should put the rest of the league on notice.
Fourth-ranked Gonzaga had to postpone its first three conference games because of COVID-19 issues within the program, but when the Bulldogs got back on the basketball court, they were firing on all cylinders. Anton Watson scored 19 points, Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren scored 18 each, and No. 4 Gonzaga...