no 1 women’s basketball recruit Juju Watkins, who grew up 10 miles from the USC campus, signed her nationwide letter of intent Tuesday with the Trojans.
Watkins, who picked USC over finalists South Carolina and Stanford, is a two-time gold medalist with USA Basketball, a defending California state champion at Sierra Canyon High School and the state’s reigning Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
The 17-year-old, who grew up in Watts, is in line to be a part of an inventory of USC basketball legends who grew up within the Los Angeles space, together with Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Cheryl Miller, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson.
“I did not need to rush this course of,” Watkins stated. “Lots of people in my class had already dedicated earlier than me, and I positively was taking my time. But I needed to make sure that it was 1,000 % the place I needed to go.”
Watkins joins Malia Samuels, a 5-foot-6 guard from Seattle’s Garfield High School, in coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s 2022-23 recruiting class. Samuels is the No. 49 prospect within the 2023 espnW 100.
Watkins, a flexible 6-2 guard, averaged 24.5 factors, 10.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.8 steals and a pair of.0 blocks final season for Sierra Canyon en route to the state title. Last summer time, she began all seven video games as a member of the USA Basketball Women’s U17 National Team and averaged a team-high 13.1 factors, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a pair of.3 steals.
Watkins turns into the third top-10 recruit to signal with USC since espnW began its nationwide rankings in 2007, becoming a member of No. 7 Jordan Adams in 2012 and No. 8 Aaliyah Gayles in 2022.
USC hasn’t received a nationwide championship because it went back-to-back in 1983 and 1984. It final received a convention title in 1994 and the convention match in 2014. But its record of alums are as embellished as these from any college: Cooper-Dyke, a two-time NCAA champion, four-time WNBA champion and former USC coach; Miller, a two-time NCAA champion, three-time Naismith Player of the Year and this system’s all-time main scorer; Leslie, a Naismith Award winner, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time WNBA champion; and Thompson, the primary school participant drafted into the WNBA, its second-leading scorer all time and a four-time WNBA champion.
Watkins is now poised to be a part of the Trojans’ legendary LA-to-USC beginning 5.
Growing up in Watts, Watkins began taking part in basketball on the age of seven regardless of her mother and father’ need for her to play tennis like Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Every day, she’d apply together with her mother and father, Sari and Robert, within the yard or on the Watts health club named after her great-grandfather, Ted Watkins Sr., a civil rights activist within the Sixties.
Before her junior 12 months in highschool, Watkins transferred from Windward in Los Angeles to Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth, California, and joined coach Alicia Komaki’s championship group. At Sierra Canyon, Watkins rapidly discovered success and fame. Despite the college boasting well-known final names like James and Kardashian, Watkins grew to become her personal celeb and helped fill the stands throughout the 2021-22 ladies’ basketball season.
In February 2022, she grew to become the primary highschool athlete to signal with Klutch Sports Group for NIL illustration. This October, Watkins finalized an NIL endorsement take care of Nike, alongside Sierra Canyon classmate Bronny James, Iowa level guard Caitlin Clark, Stanford guard Haley Jones and high 2023 guard DJ Wagner.
“Juju has been within the nationwide highlight since seventh grade,” Komaki stated. “When she first got here to Sierra Canyon, she knew that she carried a reputation together with her and he or she understood that. She understood her duty to the sport due to who she is. And when she performs in school, she’ll do the identical factor . The title on the entrance shall be simply as vital because the title on the again.”