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Top-100 prospect Akil Watson commits to ASU Basketball

The four-star 6-9 forward prospect visited Tempe this past weekend
The four-star 6-9 forward prospect visited Tempe this past weekend

As a general recruiting approach, no team wants to bring in recruits that they feel are unlikely to potentially commit to their program. And for ASU, that philosophy paid immediate dividends when 6-9 New Jersey forward pledged to the Sun Devils less than a week after his official visit to the school.

“I liked the long-term recruitment (process) with them and how they always been there with me,” Watson told Devils Digest short after his announcement. “It felt like home when I visited there. Everybody was welcoming to me and my parents, and we got along with everyone we met. It was just a great atmosphere.

“When I left there, I knew this is where I wanted to commit to. My parents, to be honest with you, had the same vibe too. That school just stood out from all the other schools I talked to and visited. I liked the interaction with (head) coach Hurley, and he was with me on the entire time. Some visits, the head coach isn’t with you, but he was with me the whole time. And we were not talking just about basketball but about life too.”

The family atmosphere, as well as the size of the campus, the high ranking of its Business College, and the facilities certainly intrigued Watson quite a bit during his Arizona State trip, and he also appreciated the player perspective of his host, senior guard Luther Muhammad was able to provide last weekend.

“He told me that coach Hurley is a great coach and listens to everything,” Watson described. “He’s really laid back. The way he lets you play is pretty much how I play my game, getting up and down the floor. And he’s a coach where you talk to him about anything.”

ASU assistant coach Jermaine Kimbrough has been the staff member that has been Watson’s main staff contact throughout the process, and naturally, was another significant aspect in the forward’s decision.

“He checks in on me all the time, and it’s not just about basketball,” Watson remarked. “He wants to know how I’m going throughout my day and my life. So that really stands out to me, how he talks to me and communicates with me. we can talk about anything, and we have a great relationship.”

Hurley’s transparency also resonated with ASU’s newest addition regarding the Sun Devil’s head coach’s specific expectations of the four-star forward.

“He likes how versatile I am, the way I get up and down the floor,” Watson noted. “He said I can shoot the ball very well, and can really be a great two-way player, and I play a good level of defense. I definitely want to improve my ball handling and just getting stronger. I try to model my game after Kevin Durant and Paul George.”

Watson, who is ASU’s first pledge of the 2023 class, previously visited Illinois and was planning Seton Hall and other schools in the next couple of months. This has now all changed in Arizona State’s favor, and the forward is planning to make his commitment official during the November signing period, which runs from the 10th through the 17th.

“I’m shutting it down. I’m committed,” Watson said.

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