Mitchell Watt lands in an NBA mock draft
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 13, 2012 @ 9:20am
Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol…Mitchell Watt? According to NBADraft.net, one of the web’s leaders in NBA Draft predictions, the University at Buffalo men’s basketball star is working his way into the second round conversation.
The website projects Watt to be chosen by the Los Angeles Lakers at pick #60, a telling sign that the MAC Player of the Year is being noticed in national circles. As a Buffalonian, it’s encouraging to see a local product being weighed against high-major players like Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor, Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, Marquette’s Jae Crowder and Baylor’s Quincy Acy. At the same time, maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking.
Watt jumped out to a quick start at the Portsmouth Invitational, the premier showcase tournament for graduating college seniors to boast their talents in front of hordes of NBA scouts. Placed on a team called “Norfolk Sports Club,” Watt registered 11 points and a ridiculous seven blocks in a team-high 33 minutes despite losing to Portsmouth Sports CL 88-76.
In his second game, the senior Bull kept his team afloat in the first half with 12 points and five rebounds before finishing with 14 and seven. Interestingly, Watt squared off against Ball State’s Jarrod Jones, a MAC rival big man also vying for a spot in the June 28 draft. Norfolk Sports Club plays next at 2 p.m. Saturday.
If you’re late to the Mitchell Watt story, the stalwart senior suffered from debilitating Guillain-Barre Syndrome as an underclassman, but hid the illness from the media and most teammates as he was treated. Blossoming early in his senior campaign due to experience, confidence and 20 pounds of added strength, Watt was consistently the Bulls’ best player in the team’s second-place finish in the Mid-American Conference.
Best of luck to Watt as he continues to wow NBA scouts.