Nate Watson says he’ll play a fifth season at Providence College (Photo: Big East Conference.)
By KEVIN McNAMARA
If you think Nate Watson enjoyed a breakout senior season at Providence College just wait until you see Season Five.
Watson developed into a dominant low post scorer this past season, but announced Wednesday that he will return for his fifth season with the program. His goal are, well, lofty.
“I was the third leading scorer in the Big East. I’m trying to be first,” he said. “I was 10th in shot blocking. I’m trying to be first. I was ninth or 10th in rebounding. I’m trying to be first. I was second in field goal percentage but I’m trying to be first. I have a lot of goals and am also trying to win the Big East championship.”
Watson said he’s confident the Friars can put together a stronger roster and contend for a league championship next season. He said he’s urging roommate Noah Horchler and star guard David Duke to return and will also assist coach Ed Cooley in recruiting if needed.
“I’m very confident we’re going to be better next year. Me being a 5th year senior I know what needs to be done. I’m happy to take the team under my wing.”
In a release put out by the school Watson said “I wanted another opportunity to compete for a BIG EAST title and make a run at the NCAA’s with my teammates. Playing at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is a special experience. Everyone worked hard this year to make the 2020-21 season as realistic as possible, but there were elements of college basketball that we all missed. I did not want to end my career without being able to have my final season playing at the Dunk’ in front of my family and all the great fans in Friartown.”
Watson was a All-Big East Second Team pick after leading the Friars in scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg) and shooting 60 percent from the field. In 26 games this season, he recorded four double-doubles and enjoyed seven games with 20 or more points. Watson scored his 1,000th career point in a December win at Seton Hall and in 122 career games he now has totaled 1,317 points (10.8 ppg).
“We are excited that Nate will be returning to play for the Friars next season,” Head Coach Ed Cooley said. “Nate was one of the top centers in nation in 2021. Having him on the court will make the Friars a better team. I am happy for Nate that he will have the chance to experience another year of college basketball.”
Watson will meet with the media later today and further discuss his decision. He apparently will not enter his name in the NBA Draft, if only to work out for pro scouts and receive feedback on his game.
Watson will be one of the top big men in the country and add to what is expected to be a deep set of big men in the Big East. Zack Freemantle (Xavier), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova), Qudus Wahab (Georgetown) and Adama Sanogo (UConn) are just some of the frontcourt players who could return next season.