April 28, 1991 |
|Listed height||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Listed weight||232 lb (105 kg)|
|High school||Shades Valley (Birmingham, Alabama)|
|NBA draft||2013 / Undrafted|
|2013–2014||Hapoel Eilat (Israel)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Christian Watford (born April 28, 1991) is an American professional basketball player who last played for Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli Basketball Super League. He played college basketball for Indiana University.
High school career
Watford played high school basketball at Shades Valley High School in the Birmingham suburb of Irondale where he graduated from in 2009 with a 3.5 GPA. As a junior, he averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds. As a senior, he averaged 25 points and 13 rebounds and helped guide them to a 26-6 season and was named to the Birmingham News Super Senior team. After his senior year, ESPN ranked Watford 26th overall and 4th small forward in the nation in the 2009 class. He was ranked the 34th overall recruit by Rivals.com and the 6th small forward, while Scout.com ranked him 72nd overall and the 15th small forward.
On September 9, 2008, Watford committed to play for Indiana University under Coach Tom Crean, turning down offers from Alabama, Louisville, and Memphis. Upon committing he said of Indiana, "They have a real good basketball tradition there and I think coach Crean is going to come in and restore the program. Basically, I just like their tradition. It's Indiana, you know."
In his freshman year at Indiana, the 2009-10 season, Watford had an immediate impact and was one of only two players to start all 31 games. He led the team in rebounding (6.0/game), total blocks (19) and double-doubles (4). He was also the top Big Ten Conference freshman in scoring (12.0, 19th overall), rebounding (6.0, 11th overall) and free throw percentage (.800, seventh overall). At the conclusion of the season he was selected to the All-Big Ten Freshman team by the league coaches and named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by Sporting News and FoxSports.com.
In his sophomore year at Indiana, the 2010-11 season, Watford played in 29 games and started in 28 but had to miss three games after breaking his hand. He finished 10th in the league in scoring with 16 points per game and was second in the Big Ten in free throw percentage at 84.3 percent.
In his junior year at Indiana, the 2011-12 season, Watford averaged 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 28.4 minutes per game. He averaged 41.6% from the field and 81.5% from the free throw line. On December 10, 2011, Indiana defeated top-ranked Kentucky at the last second on a 3-pointer by Watford, giving the Hoosiers a stunning 73-72 upset victory. Watford finished the game with 20 points and 5 rebounds while going 4 for 6 on 3-pointers. Watford's last second shot sent Indiana fans storming the court and crowding around players. Kentucky's loss was their only one of the regular season and prevented them from matching a record last set by Indiana's 1975-1976 team. The shot won the 2012 ESPY Award for "Best Play" and was named the 2012 GEICO Play of the Year. Video of Indiana fans reacting to the shot around the country went viral. After the game Watford said, "I haven't felt anything like that. It's probably the most memorable moment of my life, definitely of my career." The Hoosiers earned a number four seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and defeated New Mexico State in the second round. After defeating VCU in the third round, the Hoosiers lost to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. At the end of the season Watford was named to the NCAA's All-South Region Team.
Although reports suggested Watford would enter the 2012 NBA Draft, he opted instead to return and play for the Hoosiers. In a statement issued by the Indiana Athletic Department, he said, "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to complete my degree and to continue restoring the winning tradition at IU. I believe in Coach Crean and our staff and I am eager to lead my new teammates and build on what we started." He entered the season as the leading returning scorer in the Big Ten with 1,287 points.
Due in part to Watford's leadership, the Hoosiers finished the 2012-13 season as the outright Big Ten champions. He averaged 12.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 48.6% from the three-point line, which ranked tops in the Big Ten ahead of his teammate Jordan Hulls. Watford also shoot 82% from the free throw line, ranking third in the league and ninth in rebounding. The coaches and media named him a Third Team All-Big Ten honoree.
Indiana earned a number 1 seed, and then went on to defeat James Madison and Temple University, before falling to Syracuse in the Sweet 16.
After going undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft, Watford joined the Indiana Pacers for the Orlando Summer League and the Dallas Mavericks for the Las Vegas Summer League. On July 30, 2013, he signed with Hapoel Eilat of Israel for the 2013–14 season.
In July 2014, Watford joined the Detroit Pistons for the Orlando Summer League and the Golden State Warriors for the Las Vegas Summer League.
- Young, Justin (26 August 2008). "Watford Looking Hard at Five". Yahoo. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Bozich, Alex (3 April 2012). "That's a Wrap: Christian Watford". Inside the Hall. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Fan Reaction to Indiana Beating Kentucky on Buzzer Beater". YouTube. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "Watford Named to NCAA All-South Region Team". IU Athletic Department. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Watford, Zeller Will Be Back For Indiana Men's Basketball". Indiana Univ Athletic Dept. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Several Hoosiers Earn B1G Postseason Honors, Highlighted by Oladipo and Sheehey". IU Athletic Dept. March 12, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Hapoel Eilat sign Christian Watford