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Peyton Watson commits to UCLA

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Another west coast player staying close to home.

Beach City Hoops

There was some recent buzz concerning the Kentucky wildcats and 2021 forward Peyton Watson. However, any traction the Wildcats had with him came to an end today, as Watson just committed to play for the UCLA Bruins.

Although Kentucky had been in close contact with Watson, it turns out that they never made an official offer to the 6-7 wing. Normally, this is early for a top 2021 prospect to announce a commitment to a college. But during a pandemic, we are seeing more and more athletes announcing early decisions.

Watson is the No. 17 overall player according to the 247 Sports Composite, and the No. 1 player in the great state of California. And while other schools were certainly under consideration, Corey Evans from Rivals has felt like UCLA was in the lead for a while.

“Watson grew up in UCLA’s backyard and the Bruins have clearly emphasized him in recruiting,” Evans wrote. “UCLA may just have one senior on its roster this season, depending on whether Chris Smith keeps his name in the NBA Draft. Either way, Smith’s development over the years is exactly what Mick Cronin is pointing to with Watson as an example of how the five-star prospect could flourish at UCLA.”

Given John Calipari’s recent track record with west coast players transferring closer to home after a season or two, it may be for the best that Watson is staying in California. However, Kentucky has yet to land a player in the Class of 2021.