Earlier today, TKR was able to catch up with Coach Marquise Watts as he returned home from a busy month of July. TKR would like to extend a big thank you to Coach Watts, who has been fantastic this entire summer, and also to our correspondent who continues to do a great job making these interviews happen.
TKR: With the biggest week in the AAU season just wrapping up, how would you say Sam played in Vegas?
Coach Watts: Sam was tremendous, he got better and better every single game. I think he averaged about 22 points and 10 rebounds. We played him at the 3, 4, and 5 so he showed his versatility. Sam can score....he can just flat out score, he ran the floor extremely well, and really showed off his athleticism. We even allowed him to push the ball up the court, so he was like Lamar Odom out there for us. His perimeter skills are also improving.
TKR: Where have you seen the greatest improvement in his game over the AAU season
Coach Watts: He has now realized just how good he can be. He is trying to dominate every aspect of the game. Like a lot of kids his age, it has been a big maturity thing, he is constantly trying to get better now. Like a lot of big men, he would usually get tired quickly, but I was playing him out of 32 minutes, about 27 or 28 a game if he wasnt in foul trouble. He was logging a lot of minutes, and he has been incredibly busy since the start of the Spring.
TKR: What schools were showing the most interest in him, and where does Sam plan on visiting in the fall?
Coach Watts: Gonzaga was at every single game with at least 1 member of the staff at every game. George Mason was at every game as well. Penn State was at about 70% of the games also. Illinois State and Drake were there also. He has now picked up offers from Penn State and Cal, to go along with the others. He is high on Gonzaga, and was wearing Gonzaga gear at the airport in Vegas. He has an official visit scheduled for September 6-8.
TKR: Why do you think there has been such a take off in his recruitment?
Coach Watts: The biggest thing is that there are so few good big guys across the country. Most years there are only about 10 good bigs across the country, and as the others start to commit and narrow their lists, then everyone starts to jump on you. Also Sam keeps getting better and better, and coaches arent recruiting Sam for how good he is now, but for how good he will be. He is over 220 pounds now, and six months ago he was less then 210. He is starting to fill out and get better. Every coach has also said that they think Sam has gotten longer, so I dont think he is done growing yet.