The feeling is something that Indiana University fans had grown accustomed too over the years. Now, Christian Watford has to start making people in the National Basketball Association feel the same way as well. So far, he isn’t off to too bad of a start.
“I tell you what, it looks like every shot is going in,” said Pacers Assistant Coach Dan Burke.
“I felt like he kept up with a lot of the pace, we threw a lot of stuff at him in drills. I thought he stayed with the pace. He’s got some NBA rules to learn, but every time he takes that shot it looks like it is going in. So we are intrigued by that, but ask me Friday about him.”
Watford, wearing a professional jersey for the first time on Wednesday for the Pacers, partook in Indiana’s rookie/free agent camp. The four-day camp, which includes fellow Pacers Miles Plumlee, Orlando Johnson, first-round pick Solomon Hill, and Ben Hansbrough, includes fifteen players who are attempting to make Indiana’s Summer League roster that begins on Sunday in Orlando.
The 6’9 Watford, who averaged 16.0 points and 5.4 rebounds his senior year for Indiana’s Big Ten Championship squad, was very pleased with his day-one performance.
“I came out there and gave a great effort,” said Watford. “I came out here with a lot of energy, so it was a great day.”
During media availability last Friday in Bloomington, Hoosiers Head Coach Tom Crean had made it known that the Pacers had shown much interest in perhaps drafting Watford if they were to keep the second round pick. Instead the Pacers sold the pick to the Boston Celtics for cash, in which they used it to draft center Colton Iverson from Colorado State. Watford, who hit one of his pantented threes during a scrimmage at the end of practice, believes he can help out Indiana if given the chance.
However, Watford does know there are improvements he is going to have to make for his success to be taken to the next level.
“In the four-position, you have to learn how to guard bigs,” said Watford. “Guys are pretty big at this level, a lot heavier. There are certain techniques to guard them, and I have to learn those.”
Wearing a white and blue jersey rather than the red and white may look different on Watford, but he made it sound like his objectives on the court are still the same. Watford wants to stretch out the floor, knock down shots, rebound the basketball, and help the Indiana Pacers win some games in Orlando. If he achieves all of that, he feels like everything can work out in his favor.
“This is the best situation for me,” said Watford. “Not being drafted, these guys definitely wanted me in here, and I’m feeling like I’m wanted in here. That’s the main thing, so it is a great situation for me.”