After a heralded high school career in Las Vegas, Watson signed with Tennessee four years ago and went from famous to forgotten in no time flat. Playing for Buzz Peterson-coached teams that went 17-12, 15-14 and 14-17 made C.J. so anonymous that you couldn’t find him with a search warrant.
Given the mediocrity of UT’s program, a lot of guys would’ve transferred to a school closer to their home after a year or two. Watson stuck it out, however, and the wait paid handsome dividends. New coach Bruce Pearl brought an upbeat system to the Vols last winter, and Watson flourished in it. He averaged a career-best 15 points per game, led the team in assists and tied for the team lead in steals.
Now Watson is playing the waiting game again, though. Despite a series of great showings at the Portsmouth Invivational pre-draft camp, he went unselected in the recent NBA Draft. As a result, he is battling to earn a free-agent contract from the San Antonio Spurs by honing his skills during a summer league in Utah.
Watson gave Tennessee four really good seasons, finishing second on the career lists for assists (577) and steals (198). He represented the team to the best of his ability, showed considerable character and proved to be a credit to the program.
If he can land a job with the Spurs and stick for five or six years in the NBA, he’ll build himself a nice nest egg for the future. If good things really do come to those who wait, there should be a pot of gold waiting at the end of C.J. Watson’s rainbow.