JuJu Watkins is the future for USC

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (News4usonline) – JuJu Watkins is not only the best freshman player in college basketball, but she is also one of the best college players in the country. Watkins is No. 2 in the nation only behind Caitlin Clark in most points per game.

She is an offensive machine that can take over a game at any moment and has the USC Trojans ranked No. 7 in women’s college basketball. Making the AP All-American First Team solidifies just how a player Watkins is.

USC Trojans women’s basketball star JuJu Watkins has had a phenomenal freshman season. Photo credit: Ser Baffo/News4usonline

Watkins came into the season ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2023 high school class, according to ESPN and she has showed why she was ranked as the best. She has shown her offensive skills while helping the Trojans win 26 games (26-5 overall) and putting them as the second seed for the Pac-12 tournament.

Watkins has arguably become the best offensive player that USC women’s basketball has ever had. That is saying a lot with names like Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie, who are also former Trojans.

Watkins broke several astonishing records, including the most points ever by a USC freshman (810 and counting), the most points scored at Galen Center (42), and the one that put the world on notice: USC’s single-game scoring record with 51 points at Stanford.

“I’m still shaking it was a great game I’m just glad we got the dub,” said Watkins after her 51-point performance.

Watkins excitement about winning the game was more than the emotions she showed after the record she had broken. That makes her a player that any coach would want on their team.

Reportedly, Watkins had a bad game before USC played Stanford. According to reports, Watkins worked hours after the game on her shot. She was working so late on her shot that security called coach Lindsay Gottlieb to ask if they should kick her out.

Her determination to help her team win is visible when she plays.

“Her demeanor from the second that game ended against Washington ‘til now is what sets her apart to me more than these numbers. I mean, all week I said this kid is different. She’s special the way she takes coaching, the way she’s a teammate, the way she holds herself accountable, the way she raises her level,” Gottlieb remarked.

“But I think that what is so special about her is everything like inside and obviously it came out today in a way that if you love basketball, I don’t know how you’re not blown away,” Gottlieb added. said about Watkins after her record-breaking night in Stanford.

Watkins is definitely one of the best scorers, but what makes her even scarier is that she has room for improvement. With this only being her freshman year, she has more years to make herself one of the best college players ever.

Even though she is averaging 27 points per game, her shooting percentage from the field is 40 percent. She is averaging more turnovers than assists. Adding more assists could help her game and her team become better.

On nights when her shot is not going down her ability to take it to the rim is amazing. She can either score, get fouled and open things for her team. Watkins is a great free-throw shooter, so getting fouled works great for her and also helps her shoot the ball better.

Watkins has a great team around her with McKenzie Forbes, Rayah Marshall, and sharp-shooting Kayla Padilla. She can get her assists numbers much higher especially with all teams looking to stop her by double-teaming or putting extra pressure on her.

USC women’s basketball star JuJu Watkins is averaging 27 points per game in her freshman season. Photo credit: Ser Baffo/News4usonline

Watkins wears her emotions on her sleeves. When she makes any little mistake, she works even harder to fix it and players like that are hard to find. She is averaging more points her freshman year than Clark did her freshman year.

If she can continue to grow, Watkins can truly be special. If she plays the way she has done in her freshman year, the conversation just might circle around Watkins breaking Clark’s all-time scoring mark.

Watkins would rather have championships just like when she scored 51 points. Watkins was more happy that her team picked up the win more than the points she scored.

Watkins and the Trojans are a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Women’s Tournament bracket. With that No. 1 seed, USC has secured home dates for the first two rounds of play at Galen Center. Watkins and the Trojans play No. 16. Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the first round.

Should USC get past Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the first game, the Trojans would advance to the second round. There is no doubt that Gottlieb and the Trojans are hoping that Watkins lead the way.

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