Isaiah Watkins: First Impressions

Dec 11, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard D.J. Newbill (2) drives to the basket against Duquesne Dukes forward Isaiah Watkins (13) during the second half at the CONSOL Center. Penn State won 68-59. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: I haven’t read any other opinions yet and I haven’t discussed it other than sharing a couple of observations with my father, with whom I attended the Penn State game. I don’t know if anyone has anything to say similar or not to this; I didn’t want to be influenced by outside sources.

First, let’s judge the book by its cover. Oftentimes, a freshmen comes into a college basketball program and he just looks like a kid. He’s built thin, he’s got a lot of youth in the face, and the like. Watkins does not look like a kid. Watkins looks like a man. He has obviously spent time in the weight room. If looks are any indication, he’s going to be a bit stronger than the average freshman forward.

Second, let’s get something out of the way. Watkins is a bit raw rusty. He looks like a guy who hasn’t played basketball for a while, which is because he is a guy who hasn’t played basketball in a while. He took some shots and a lot of them didn’t go. I have to believe that’s going to come with time. If we don’t see anything better after about 5 or 6 games, I’ll be concerned. Right now, I’m pleased that he was in position to make a play. He also was able to pull in a few of his own rebounds from some of those misses, which is a plus.

I was impressed by how Watkins battled tonight for a few defensive boards, too. He obviously knows where he should be and he really fought for position on a few of those.

It wasn’t all good. As much as he could put himself in the right place, at other times he seemed lost. He didn’t move as well in the offense as the other forwards have, though no one did that particularly well against PSU. Again, I think this is something that’s going to come as he settles in this year. It’s been a while since he’s had any meaningful game action. Early returns look good; we’ll just need to see progression from here.

Topics: Duquesne Dukes, Isaiah Watkins

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