Trust the process, even if it's elongated
It might not feel like it, but it's already been nearly a year and a half since former Boston Terriers point guard Maurice Watson, Jr. decided to transfer from BU to Creighton. And what an 18 months it's been for the new Bluejay. Watson's sat on the sidelines through CU's second year in the Big East, which had a few hiccups along the way, and the point guard suffered a disastrous foot injury that kept him out for the first two months of the 2014 season.
As tough as the adjustment period was, Watson, Jr. remained positive on Wednesday when discussing the journey.
"The process has been good, I've been able to embrace it better just by the people I have around me," Watson Jr. said.
Being surrounded by the vocal, raucous and rowdy Bluejay fans that frequently sell out the CenturyLink Center, as well as his Jays teammates, kept the positive vibes percolating as well.
"I think the year off — me having a year to be in CenturyLink and get used to the fans, I think that's great too," he said. "You know, each fan, i'm walkin' out of the tunnel, and they're yellin', 'Can't wait for you to play!' Having support like that from people you don't even know, their kids want your autograph and they want to take pictures with you, it makes you want to do the right things off the court."
"And then on the court just seeing how hard my teammates fought and how we didn't get the results it just makes me wanna... you know, I'm that piece that can help them. And I just want to go help my team as much as I can."
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A dream come true
If you're a native of the Northeast and you lived through the Big East Conference's dominant reign over the realm of college basketball, it was hard not to be enchanted and enamored with it all.
Watson, Jr., a native of Philadelphia, very easily fell in love with the Big East and its style of play. "Growing up, the Big East was my dream conference," Mo said, matter of factly. And was there any discontent? "I wasn't there, and I was disappointed in that," he said, but now? He's welcomed it.
"Now that I'm here, I knew when I transferred and Big East schools started calling, I would go to one," Watson said. "Coach Mac didn't let me get off campus, basically."
The atmospheres, the crowds, the arenas, the whole enchilada? He's ready and willing.
"But playing in front of these fans, these are the times that you dream of as a kid in the driveway. Counting down to that buzzer-beater. 18,00 fans, bright lights, cameras, media? That's the stuff that you live for."
Bringing leadership to the table
You, as a Creighton fan, or a Big East fan in general might be wondering what this former BU Terriers point guard will be bringing to the table. Much to our delight, Watson was willing to educate.
"I think I've been able to bring a different level of leadership," Watson said. "I'm able to find my teammates. Austin was a great point guard, I don't wanna take anything away from him. But I think that I'm just a little bit better of a passer and my teammates are gonna get in the right spots for me to find them."
The Philly-born point guard would continue to emphasize leadership. "I just wanna bring that level of leadership and intensity to the floor, and that level of trust for Coach Mac to know that as long as I'm out there, he has a good point guard. He has the ball in the right person's hands to make decisions."
And what's the end game for Mo?
"I want to bring a lot of wins here. I want that National Championship here in the Big East. So we're working to that and I wanna be the catalyst."
Lest I pass up a chance to bring up the Spike Jonze-directed, Charlie Kaufman-screenplayed 2002 film, Watson has had to adjust mightily to the new environment around him just as any transfer student would. Going from the east coast to the Midwest, using a personal anecdote, was not crisp nor brisk. But after making the necessary adjustments, like a youngster entering the big leagues, it seems Watson is ready to hit on all cylinders in all areas of the floor ahead of him.
"With the speed of how Coach Mac likes to play and how each day is three hours, each practice you have to play hard every possession," he said. "At BU, I could take possessions off. But here? I have to play hard every possession and have to put a bigger emphasis on my defense."
"And I think that is going to make me the type of player that can stand out more. I can guard any player. And Coach Mac is so smart, and he knows different places to go and sees things before they happen. It's taken me time to pick his brain, but I think I'm definitely getting a handle of it."
Are you ready?
One might expect Watson, who hasn't hit the hardwood for an official game in almost a year and a half, to be ready to do just that. Is there any game in particular that Maurice Watson, Jr. is looking forward to?
"Every game," he told Big East Coast Bias. Succinct, concise, and straight to the point.
As an aside: Watson did tell Big East Coast Bias that he's looking forward to playing at Villanova, likely due in large part to the fact that he's a Philly-born kid. You would suspect the family will be in attendance for that one.
More Big East Media Day recaps are on their way, including quotes from Creighton's Geoffrey Groselle and head coach Greg McDermott. Stay tuned!