Last summer was Peyton Watson’s breakout season. This summer was set to be his chance to explode on the recruiting scene and earn scholarship offers from the blue bloods.
However, his rise through the recruiting rankings has been put on hold due to the coronavirus postponing basketball events for him to participate in. But when basketball returns, college coaches will be keeping a close eye on Watson, Kentucky included.
In fact, the Wildcats have been maintaining constant contact with Watson, according to Cats Pause’s Chris Fisher. The report also says Watson “grew up on Kentucky basketball,” and one of his favorite teams was the 2016-17 team that featured De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
Going into last year, Watson only had three scholarship offers with the schools being Grand Canyon, Montana, and Santa Clara. His name was not included in the recruiting rankings, and he was not a starter on his high school team.
People around the Long Beach Poly program knew that Watson would blow up once he got his chance. Once that chance came, other colleges began to take notice with teams like Arizona, Maryland, Oregon, USC and Washington offering him scholarships.
Rivals analyst Eric Bossi wrote that Watson was “the top surprise” of a camp that featured many of the five-star recruits, saying that he “causes havoc” on the defensive end of the floor. When that was said, neither Rivals nor 247 Sports had him listed in their recruiting rankings.
Ben Roberts of the Herald Leader recently spoke with 247 Sports analyst Evan Daniels about Watson and he had great things to say about him.
“Peyton Watson is a tremendous talent,” Daniels said. “I’m really impressed with his development over the last year. I think he’s improved as a shooter and a shotmaker and a scorer. And he’s got a really impressive frame, really good size for the position, long arms, athleticism, the potential to guard multiple positions. And, offensively, he continues to grow. I think he’s catapulted himself into the elite category in the 2021 class.”
Watson is firmly on Kentucky’s radar, and Kenny Payne is leading the recruitment of Watson for the Wildcats. In the past, Watson has said that Kentucky is a “dream school” of his and one of the programs he grew up watching.
Everyone knows that Watson would have been one of the top players that coaches would want to see play on the Nike EYBL circuit if the summer recruiting periods hadn’t been canceled.
“I think he was a candidate to blow up in the spring and summer, for sure,” Daniels said. “If you saw him during the high school season, you saw the upside and potential, and you saw that he was coming. And he still has a lot of potential and a lot of upside, and I think he could’ve been a guy that could have really taken off.”
Watson has already taken visits to Arizona, Gonzaga, and Washington in recent months. His recruitment appears to be wide open with no predictions on 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball or Rivals’ FutureCast.
Daniels noted that it is still way too early, and he doesn’t believe that Watson is in a hurry to get his recruitment over with.