With the NCAA granting for an exception for Winter collegiate athletes to return to school for a 5th year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of college basketball Seniors will be making decisions that will greatly alter what the season will look like next year. In this unique circumstance, Friars Senior Nate Watson has decided to take full advantage of this opportunity and return to Providence College for a 5th year.
Nate sat down with John Fanta to discuss his decision to return to school and the factors that brought him and his family to that outcome.
Watson was named to the All-Big East 2nd Team along with teammate David Duke after posting career highs across the board, leading the team in points (16.9 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg), blocks (1.0 bpg), & field goal percentage (60.2%). There were three parts of Big Nate’s game that I though he needed to improve on from last season and he tightened up each one of them.
- Stay out of foul trouble. The best ability is availability. Despite averaging close to 14 more minutes per game this season, Nate’s fouls per game actually decreased from 2.7 to 2.4.
- Get his free throw shot back. Watson uncharacteristically struggled from the free throw line last season while still recovering from his knee injury, dipping under 60% for the first time in his career (56.5%). He improved to 62.7% from the line but I would still like to see that number closer to the 70% mark from his first two seasons. If you find yourself guarding Nate 1 on 1, he’s either scoring or you’re fouling him. His ability to make opposing teams pay from the line pays dividends for everyone on the team.
- Extend his range. Nate has been efficient and effective with his back to the basket since he stepped on the court in Providence but adding the mid-range weapon to his offensive arsenal makes him practically unguardable.
He also looked noticeably quicker moving laterally on defense and closing out on shooters which made for additional flexibility in Cooley’s lineups by Nate being able to guard shooting big men out to three-point line. And he improved his rebounding, just for fun too.
Watson should be a pre-season All-Big East first team selection and possibly garner some real All-American attention. With Luka Garza hopefully leaving Iowa (I mean it felt like he was there for 5 years like 5 years ago), there isn’t a better scoring big man in the Nation.
“I’ve got some unfinished business to take care of.”– Nate Watson
I’m already geared up for next season. The return of Nate also brings the return of the best Friar Fanatic parent we have in our ranks, his dad. I need him with fans at The Dunk next year like I need water.