The Gonzaga Bulldogs extended an offer to 2019 winger Anton Watson of Gonzaga Prep, in Spokane, Washington. This, in itself, is not the most exciting news.
And that is in no way, shape, or form, a slam against Watson himself. The 6’7 forward/guard recently made USA Today’s All-Washington second-team. He has helped lead the Bullpups to consecutive lead titles and third-place finishes at the State 4A Tournament. He also averaged 19 points last season.
What is truly exciting about this news is where Watson hails from—Spokane. One of the big things that has people constantly a little rankled in Gonzaga-land is that much of the state of Washington top talent goes elsewhere, despite the fact that Gonzaga is the top program in the state.
From an outsiders perspective, to truly understand the dynamics of it all, all you need to do is talk to one Washingtonian, and they will probably give you the same answer: western Washington and eastern Washington are basically seen as different areas.
Since the Seattle metro area is in western Washington, and since much of the top talent in the state has come from that metro area, often times Gonzaga is not in the mix for the big names. Many of them used to go to the University of Washington, and now, they will go to some other big name Pac 12 school. The reason? Because Gonzaga isn’t in their backyard, and despite Gonzaga being a big name program, many kids on the west side of the state grow up with an allegiance to the Pac 12, either through proximity to Seattle, or often times through a parent’s alma-matter.
So that is why the offer to Watson is exciting news. Gonzaga doesn’t need the Seattle area if Spokane is able to churn out some prospects or two (or three or four or five hopefully). Watson is looking like the rare, dare we say elite, level prospect coming out of Spokane. He was the Greater Spokane League MVP as a sophomore, and still has two years of AAU circuits and 4A basketball to realize more of his potential.
Watson is already getting interest from the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars as well. But considering that you can walk from G-Prep to GU, Gonzaga needs to be considered the front-runner on Watson.
Potentially, there are more Watsons in the pipeline, and that will bode quite well for Gonzaga.