Published: Dec 01, 2006 03:28 PM
Modified: Dec 01, 2006 03:24 PM
Even though it might not always show up in the boxscore, have no doubt, Daniel Watts is the key to Green Hope HighÂ’s basketball season.
He might not always score 20 points or block five shots, but the 7-foot, 225-pound seniorÂ’s impact will determine the outcome of most of the FalconsÂ’ games this season.
At his size, the Green Hope center draws the majority of attention from fans and opposing defenses.
ItÂ’s not his job to punish the defense with his scoring necessarily Â— instead the Falcons run the ball through him on offense and he finds open shooters out of the double teams.
Â“IÂ’d like to play that inside-out game,Â” Green Hope coach Mickey Bissette said. Â“Get the big guys some touches first and then make adjustments from that point.Â”
When Green Hope runs its offense through Watts, the Elon University signee has worked as an orchestrator of the offense early this season Â— drawing the double teams and using his passing skills to make defenses pay.
Â“I think itÂ’s one of my stronger points,Â” said Watts of his passing. Â“If they key in on me, my teammates are going to be open and I can get them the ball. It might not look good for my stats, but it'll help the team win.Â”
The Falcons are coming off the Thanksgiving break with a 2-0 record as of Monday. Defenses that have keyed in on Watts have been beaten by Green HopeÂ’s veteran perimeter players like senior T.C. Anderson and junior Tavares Speaks.
Â“We can be diversified,Â” said Bissette after his teamÂ’s 65-58 victory over Wakefield High on Nov. 21. Â“When one guyÂ’s not putting it in the other guys can. Obviously IÂ’d like for Daniel to have about 15 every night and about 10 boards, but they were clogging and jamming on him tonight and it opened up some things for the guards.
Â“IÂ’ve told the guards the whole time, the big power guys are going to give you some opportunities if youÂ’re patient and wait for them.Â”
While WattsÂ’ passing will be key to Green HopeÂ’s success, there will be times when Watts will have to score. After a summer of lifting weights and playing for the Nike-sponsored Charlotte Royals, Watts is more prepared than ever to take on a heavy load.
Â“I really got in the weight room. I played a lot with the Charlotte Royals,Â” Watts said. Â“ThatÂ’s just a whole other level from regular AAU. When you have sponsor teams like that, youÂ’re playing against top 100 guys all the time.Â”
The added reps on the court and in the weight room have already paid dividends for Watts this season. HeÂ’s had over eight rebounds in both of his games this season and heÂ’s noticed himself winning more battles on the glass.
Â“[The added muscle] makes me more confident,Â” Watts said. Â“There are moments that can go either way when you get the ball. Like youÂ’re tied up with someone for a rebound but you get it instead of them.Â”
Â“He definitely needed the weight,Â” Bissette said. Â“It should be a benefit as the season goes on. I think itÂ’ll keep him from wearing down as much.Â”
Watts will need every ounce of muscle this season if he expects the Falcons to meet his lofty goals.
Â“Definitely win conference,Â” Watts said. Â“If we could go undefeated that would be excellent. I definitely want to win the state championship. I think at least we can go very far in the states.Â”
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